By: Chloé Blatter
Before addressing the topic, let’s reflect for a moment:
What is leadership and what are the characteristics of a leader?
People interpret these terms differently. Some would say that leadership is the ability to see a problem and be the solution. Others describe leadership as playing to strengths and addressing weaknesses in the most productive and efficient way possible.” In general, a leader can be defined a person who leads or commands a group, an organization or a country. As leadership is a value which we strive for in AIESEC, let’s take a look at some great leaders from Oslo.
1. King Harald V of Norway
Remember the video of the Norwegian Royal Family which went viral on social media? Yes, the one where the son of the Crown Prince Håkon did the infamous dab on National TV. This story is not about him, but about his grandfather. King Harald V of Norway (1937 – Present). Growing up was tough, in fact he had to flee from Oslo due to the German Invasion in 1940. Eventually, he came back to Norway in 1945 to enroll at the Norwegian Military Academy. Then, he went to Oxford University in England to study economics, history and politics. In 1991, Harald succeeded his father as king in Norway. Thanks to his commitment for service, he earned several national honors such as Oslo Military Society Badge of Honor and foreign honors such as the Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order. While being a king is maybe the ultimate symbol of leadership, it is important to notice how King Harald has continuously invested in his personal development and growth. Leaders should always invest in themselves to remain valid and relevant.
2. Fridtjof Nansen
Norway is known for its four-seasons summer and its exquisite salmon, but a fact which not everyone knows: It is indeed a Norwegian man who discovered the North Pole!
Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) was a Norwegian scientist, polar, explorer, diplomat and humanitarian. Growing up being outdoorsy active, Fridtjof made the first crossing of Greenland’s treacherous ice cap. After discovering the North Pole, he devoted himself to the League of Nations and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922 for his work on behalf of the victims of the First World War. He worked on behalf of refugees until his sudden death in 1930. His life is the perfect epitome of how leaders step out of their comfort zone, following their true calling and overcome their orders through perseverance. His life also shows dedication to a cause bigger than one’s self.
3. Trygve Lie
Our last leader for today is Trygve Lie (1896 – 1968). He was a Norwegian Politician who became the 1st Secretary General of the United Nations. Despite living under poor conditions together with his mother and his little sister, he pursued a degree in law and joined the Labor Party in 1911. He served as a member of the executive committee of his local municipality, met important politicians in history such as Lenin and Trotsky. As Secretary General of the United Nations, it gave him the opportunity to expand his international network. After resigning from his position, he remained active in politics and held several titles like County Governor of Oslo, Chairman of the Board of Energy, Minister of Industry and Minister of Trade and Shipping. Trygve Lie is an example of overcoming insurmountable hurdles to purse his true passion in serving for the welfare and betterment regardless of whatever might be the job title.
In conclusion, the life of these three leaders have depicted three leaderships traits. They step out of their comfort zone. They follow their true calling. They persevered through tough times. As leaders, they have actively made an effort on their personal growth and development. More importantly they relentless in contributing to causes that were bigger than themselves. AIESEC is happy to present you with opportunities to hone your leadership skill.
Check our opportunities in the portal: www.aiesec.org