Author Rebecca Sive On How To Be the Best Leader. Ever. [Interview]

Photos: (Rebecca Sive)

Photos: (Rebecca Sive)

It’s time to give two snaps up for Girl Power, because Rebecca Sive’s new book “Every Day Is Election Day: A Woman’s Guide to Winning Any Office, From the PTA to the White House” encourages women to go after leadership roles, and it gives legit tips on how to do it.

In her book, Rebecca interviews a number of influential women, from politicians to organization heads. “I want to make the case that election day is a metaphorical construct for how each of us can live our lives, looking at each day and saying, ‘What is the opportunity I have today that’s beyond myself and can help my community?’” she said.

Rebecca’s book is an easy-to-read guide to help you run for an office in the student body government at your high school, or become the head of an organization at your college, and then just keep rising up. Rebecca gave five tips to MTV Act on how to be the best leader ever. Future leaders of America, take a look!

+ Gotta Have Desire

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“There’s a mentality you want to have if you’re seeking public leadership,” Rebecca said. “The first person I interviewed for ‘Every Day Is Election Day’ was federal judge Ilana Rovner, a Holocaust survivor who came to America as a young child. Ultimately, she became the first woman appointed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which is just below the Supreme Court. When I asked Judge Rovner how she persisted every day and became an important public leader, the first thing she said was she had, ‘pure, raw desire.’

Rebecca continued, “Unless you really, really want it, you’re not going to work as hard as you need to, and if you fail (which is no big deal, because you can pick yourself up and start over), you’re not going to have the emotional fortitude to try again. You gotta want it — bad!”

+ Work It, Baby!

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“As a leader, and someone who wants to be a leader, you have to have that desire, but desire doesn’t mean a whole lot unless you’re willing to work to get the position,” Rebecca said. “If you’re willing to work to get it, you have to be willing to outwork the competition — every day.”

+ Learn That Play Book

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Whether you’re running for office, working on a career, or just want to be as successful as you can be, it’s important to know the play book for what you’re doing. “You have to be willing to play the game the way it’s played; you have to know the rules of the game and apply them just as consistently as your competition does,” Rebecca said. It’s just like playing a game or getting involved with sports in that you gotta know the rules and what’s expected.

+ Pay It Forward

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Once you get elected, it isn’t all about you. “I believe every woman who seeks leadership — and every woman who becomes a leader — has a duty to help women and girls lead better lives, no matter what that leadership job is,” Rebecca said. “For instance, whether you’re the head of the school board, or the leader of a company, I think you have a duty to help others and advocate for them. I think that’s a leader’s primary responsibility. And when women who seek leadership do that, they win again: by supporting other women’s advancement, you advance yourself.” Hey, we dig the helping others bit!

+ Remember: Everyday Is Election Day

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Rebecca pointed-out that these aren’t the days of heredity kingship or queenship. If you want to be a leader, you need to earn it, and it needs to keep being earned. “We earn our leadership, and we have to re-earn it every day. Don’t think of leadership as a one-off. You need to be willing, once you’ve gotten that position, to affirmatively evaluate each day and your agenda and how people are responding to it. You need to adapt to circumstances, listen to people, and serve them. One of the women I interviewed for ‘Every Day Is Election Day’ was Louisiana US senator Mary Landrieu. She summed this up: ‘Rebecca, every day is election day. People are sizing you up every day.’ (Just as they should be.)” This isn’t meant to sound intimidating, just that you’ll be keeping up the good work you’re doing already.

As to some final words, Rebecca said, “Every one of us has this amazing opportunity to be of value and play a leadership role. You don’t have to live in New York or D.C. or Los Angeles. There are amazing women and girl leaders in every town, in every state in the country. You can be one, too.”

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