Are certain people destined to be leaders? Or can anyone become a great leader?
The answer is yes, both. There are a small number people born with the skills needed for great leadership, just like there are rare musicians born with perfect pitch. But most people are born with one or two small leadership skills that, with right practice and experience, grow into extraordinary leadership.
If you notice any of the follow qualities in yourself, you already have the potential for great leadership:
1) Curiosity – you want to explore, learn, ask questions, and find answers. You don’t have to be curious about school subjects, rather maybe you’re curious about a certain hobby or activity
2) Think for yourself – you think for yourself rather than just follow what others say
3) The ability to get along with diverse people – you don’t need a lot of friends or be the most popular kid in school, but you can get along with all sorts of different people
4) Courage – you stand up for yourself and what you think is right. You take appropriate risks and push yourself outside your comfort zone
5) Openness to new situations – you don’t mind trying something new, even if it does make you little nervous
6) Passion – you care deeply about what’s important to you , maybe sports, human rights, your friends, schoolwork or a hobby
Ready to grow into a great Leader? Here a few steps that will help you improve you leadership skills. Remember, becoming a leader is like learning a sport, it takes time and practice.
1) Become self-aware – practice looking at your actions and understanding their results. This doesn’t mean being “self-centered”, but learning how to observe yourself and your actions
2) Practice expressing yourself with words – leaders need to express themselves clearly. This takes practice (learn how to express yourself in Dialogue and Diplomacy)
3) Ask for feedback – ask a trusted teacher, parent, friend or mentor for some feedback on your leadership style and skills
4) Find a leadership role model – it can be someone you know, or someone you read about, like a character in a book or leader from history (Nelson Mandela will do nicely)
5) Get training – lots of schools offer leadership classes, you can also read books on leadership or attend summer enrichment programs like the Global Youth Village
6) Talk to and get to know different types of people – a leader needs to listen and respect diverse followers. Practice your people skills by talking to and getting know people from different backgrounds and cultures. (at GYV you can get to know teens from over 15 different countries, all during one summer!)