Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay beauty products, once said, “Everyone you meet has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘make me feel important.’ Never forget this message when working with people.”
As a leader within our Sorority or on your campus, this is one of the most important lessons to be learned. It’s not the same as wanting everyone to like you, it’s showing those around you or under your leadership that you care about them as an individual.
People want to be recognized for their concerns or ideas, and the best way to do that is to listen to what they have to say. If you are willing to sit down and have a conversation with someone, they will recognize that you are giving one of the most valuable things you can – your time.
A member who feels that you value their opinion or input will be more likely to work with you even when they don’t agree. They will understand that you’ve done your best to address their concerns because you were willing to sit down and talk through it with them. Building those one-on-one relationships with people will get you much further than trying to cater to what everyone wants – most of the time people just want to be acknowledged.
Making everyone in your chapter feel important can be a challenge to say the least, so here are a few simple actions you can take to work toward that goal:
When someone asks a question, give an honest and timely response.
Yes, it can be easy to ignore the 20th text asking if chapter is formal or not, but taking the time to answer will make your members feel validated.
Recognize that your position doesn’t make you better than anyone.
Be willing to hang out with the general membership of your chapter. It’s a simple as joining in on a conversation with women you don’t normally interact with for 10 minutes. You’ll learn something about them and they’ll see another side of you.
Make time for someone’s concerns.
If you are willing to sit down and talk to them one-on-one, it will mean so much more than, “Send me an email and I’ll address it in chapter.”
Encourage your sisters to pursue leadership.
More often than not, the best leaders are the most unlikely ones. They know what it means to be a servant leader – you are working for the chapter; they are not working for you.
Let people know you don’t have all the answers.
Don’t pretend you know what you’re doing if you really don’t. Ask questions and be willing to receive constructive criticism. Asking people for some areas you can improve will show them you’re working to be better.
Hold yourself to a high standard, but be human.
As a leader, you are responsible for holding members accountable, but this doesn’t mean you have to turn into a robot. No one expects perfection, but they do expect you to do what’s right.
By Emily Mullins (Wichita State)
Emily Mullins is a senior studying Strategic Communications at Wichita State University. Since joining Gamma Phi Beta, she has served as administrative vice president and president, and has loved experiencing the many opportunities the Sorority has given her. She's excited to be involved in new ways during her last semester! On any given day Emily can be found drinking coffee like a Gilmore, checking out an armful of books from the library or finding a new recipe on Pinterest.