Leadership: Great tool for the future

Leadership experience is a plus when it comes to getting a job. It sets a person apart from others given that these qualities show that a person can do more than what they are expected to do. Some people in the industry might have the same or even more knowledge about a certain topic, but the recruiters seek people that are willing to test themselves in an environment where they have to lead no matter the situation, completing the goals and getting positive results out of the “mission”.

For many companies, such as Exxon Mobil, it is important to help individuals develop these skills at an early stage of their maturing process, assuring the company’s future success. Companies offer university students all the tools needed to become great employees, but most of all, better individuals. Extracurricular activities, such as the Exxon Mobil Leadership Workshop, are destined to bring out the individual’s potential to the fullest.

Maricel Silva, Exxon Mobile recruiter, said: “It is really important to influence young men and women, and when I say young, I refer to those who are just starting to work. Most important of all, is that they need to have a mentor who can guide them through most experiences and answer, either technical or general questions, such as if jeans can be worn to work or how to direct yourself to your superiors.”

The workshop was held Monday, March 19, 2012 at the S-113 Auditorium located in the Stefani building at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. This activity was sponsored by the company itself in collaboration with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) UPRM Chapter. It was about  presenting ways to develop leadership skills. Important pointers like the benefits of leadership and how to become a better leader were the main topics of discussion.

Silva put lots of importance on how to become a good leader. She pointed out, with great eagerness, two major characteristics or abilities that a person should have: good listening skills and respect among others. She said: “A person who can’t listen, can’t be considered a good leader. To be a great leader, the person has to be able to listen to different opinions in order to develop themselves and the people who surround them. A great leader also has to respect himself as well respect others.”

Cristina, the second participant of the “Thrashcan Ball”, receives instructions from one of Exxon Mobil’s recruiters. She was the one who came the closest to making it into the goal.

The crowd was getting into it, the mumbling and the laughter took over the dull auditorium. Cristina was next; she was told the height and the distance from the bucket and amazingly she came really close to making it. The method used in the teaching was the “Trashcan Ball”. Basically, four members of the audience were picked and taken out of the auditorium, and the  they would come in one by one with a blindfold and try to throw  the ball into the basket by receiving instructions from the audience. The auditorium felt tense as they saw the first participant                                                                        come in. The expectations were building up as the recruiter was giving the instructions. The first participant was Christopher, and he only received a simple direction of where the basket might be. As we expected, he missed all the shots since he didn’t have a clue where the basket was.

As the third participant approached the stage, people kept getting even more anxious as no one had made the basket. Diego, the third participant, received only positive feedback while the last participant, Enrique, was told the information needed to make the basket. None of the participants made the basket, but the activity accomplished its purpose which was to understand what a leader should tell his/her employees.

Once the workshop culminated, the recruiters stayed a couple of minutes more to answer the audience’s questions. It was very constructive and educative.

Mariel Silva addresses the audience as the other recruiters listen. “It is extremely important to develop these skills early; is going to open doors in the future.”

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