Posted on October 15, 2020 by Anhar Al-Shameri
As Australia’s youth-driven movement against (cyber)bullying, we’re always keen to hear from people who have the guts to lead change on the issues that matter most to them. We’ve teamed up with the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria to track down exactly those kind of people. We took 5 with Anhar Al-Shameri to hear how disrupting their idea of leadership has created new avenues for positive social impact.
PR: Anhar, what does leadership mean to you?
Anhar: Want me to let you in on a secret? I thought I had to be a genius and super successful to be a leader. I thought that I had to be better than everyone else and that I could never, under any circumstances, fail. Not only is that nearly impossible, but it’s also not true.
Leadership is about guiding yourself and others to take action in the right way. And the good news? No one is born a leader. Leadership is a skill that you can learn and improve on.
PR: Ah that’s so cool because it really takes the pressure of leadership being this huge, intimidating thing. Ok then, so what advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue your idea of leadership?
Anhar: A good leader is passionate about helping others and is responsible for their actions. When combined with advocacy, leadership makes a real difference in your community.
Here are my three steps to being a good leader:
PR: Awesome. We love the use of “taking responsibility” too – that’s a great point. Can you talk to a time when the steps have helped you lean into leadership?
Anhar: These steps helped me raise awareness of single-use plastics in high school. My school used a lot of single-use plastic water bottles and something needed to be done about it. By trying to find a solution to a problem, I was on my journey to leadership. I used self-advocacy to encourage my teachers and classmates to stop using single-use plastics. I did a presentation to the entire school and sent a letter to the Director with the support of other students.
Soon we made a student group and created a campaign for systemic advocacy. We urged students to collect water bottles caps and paint them, we then displayed them as a mural it on the playground to spread awareness. The school listened and took action to reduce single-use plastic after that campaign.
PR: Wow, that’s huge. Through taking action you created change in your school and get other students to lean into taking action. What’s one last thing you want others to know about leadership?
Anhar: Leadership isn’t about being head of a group or leading a large group. Leading your self by being responsible for your actions and discovering your strengths to make something happen is also exceptional leadership.
Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) is the peak body and leading policy advocate for young people and the youth sector in Victoria. Their vision is that the rights of young people in Victoria are respected, and they are active, visible and valued in their communities. Their mission is to propel action that inspires positive change for young people and the youth sector.