How Can Human Services Empower Young Leaders?

How Can Human Services Empower Young Leaders?

By Nohad Abou-Hamad & Ben Reyes-Landicho

February 2022

As young leaders we know we have only hit the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our career development. We are two of the three co-founders of the Multiculturalism Group. The group focuses on cultural inclusion through empowering, engaging and educating staff about multiculturalism.

This opportunity has allowed us to develop our leadership skills through coaching, leading and mentoring individuals. We would like to share a few of the lessons and skills we have developed as leaders that can be applied across all of the human services sectors:

  1. Engage in initiatives you are passionate about that align with your values. We have noticed that we are more motivated, and goal-oriented to support initiatives that are meaningful and contribute to the growth of our organization.
  2. Ensure that you are self aware of your own personal development. Continually seek out opportunities that enhance and develop your skill set as a leader. Some of the skills we found helpful for growth and development are: Project management, facilitation, public speaking, motivational interviewing skills, ability to delegate, organizational skills, positive feedback, willingness to listen, effective cross-cultural communication, strategic thinking and innovation. 
  3. Mentoring, inspiring and building trust with those around us plays an imperative role in being a leader. The key to all of this is developing humility which includes openness to new ideas, empowering others by appreciating their strengths and contributions.
  4. It’s important to be familiar with your organization. This ensures you can recognize the gaps and come forward with innovative solutions, where possible.

Not only is your own leadership skills important, but it is crucial that those who lead you are there to support, mentor and guide your development. Seek mentors who have lived experiences and whose values align with yours.

Having a mentor who is willing to share their expertise, and who have relevant experience related to your goals and aspirations, is imperative.

Lastly, we found in seeking an opportunity that might be out of our comfort zone allowed us to challenge ourselves and gain new skills, meet new people, and create the world of a difference within the City of Ottawa. 

About the Author

Nohad Abou-Hamad and Ben Reyes-Landicho are the recipients of the 2021 OMSSA Young Leader Award. Both are currently working for the City of Ottawa as Case Workers. OMSSA's Young Leader Award honours an individual 30 years or younger who has been recognized as a leader, created change, and strengthened leadership in their community. Our Young Leader Award recipients will be recognized at our 2022 Exchange Conference.

Blog categories: Leadership, Inclusion, Mentorship