Most of us do not recognize our potential for leadership. But when you ask yourself this question and take a closer look at who you are as a human being, you’ll see that this question … Can anyone become a leader? is a definite YES!
The question of the ages is whether you’re born a leader or if you can become a leader with the right training. The quick and true answer is that the skills needed for good leadership are borne from education, experience, and access to information, along with a willingness to improve. If that describes you, you can become a leader.
Personally, I had never thought of myself as a leader until I became a school teacher at the age of thirty. It was my first school administrator who tapped me to lead a committee of teachers in the area of technology. I ended up writing a grant that put three computers in my 5th/6th grade classroom, something that was extremely rare in 1987.
This principal, Sue Shannon, made it possible for me to shine in the areas I was most interested in and passionate about. She thrust me into the role of a leader and I went on to achieve many goals based on her guidance and the faith she had in me.
Effective leadership requires a host of skills that you can learn, such as:
Accountability – Not only do you need to understand how to take responsibility when needed, but you also, as a leader, need to understand how to hold others accountable too ethically and fairly.
Assertiveness – You must learn how to say no, or yes when it’s the right thing to do and express your fact-based opinions confidently. Part of being a leader is other people’s perception of you as a leader. If the people around you believe you and know you’ll stand up for them and your causes, the perception is you’re a good leader.
Communication – Knowing how to talk, listen, and when to do both is a skill a good leader processes and a skill you can learn. The more you learn about the process of communication, the more you can add to your leadership skill set.
Ethical – Doing the right thing, regardless of what others think, is what a strong leader does. They have a strong awareness of their morals, values, and principles and make decisions that demonstrate them.
Focused – A good leader knows when and how to get things done. They pay close attention to details and don’t allow distractions to lower the quality of their work or slow them down.
Honesty – Despite how it sometimes seems in the media, a good leader knows how to be truthful and doesn’t try to hide the truth from their audience.
Open-Mindedness – A good leader knows that they don’t know what they don’t know and may not even know what questions to ask about what they don’t know. Therefore, they keep an open mind and pay close attention to facts as they reveal themselves to change course if needed.
Organized – Don’t worry. Even if you aren’t naturally organized, you really can learn to improve your organizational skills. But even if you can’t keep your home uncluttered, you can learn how to manage all your work using the tools of the trade.
Relationship Builder – Due to their understanding of themselves, human nature, and conflict resolution, a good leader is an effective relationship builder both at work and personally.
Reliable – If a good leader tells you they will do something, they always do. You can trust them at their word. But this is also why they are not afraid to say no because they’re not saying yes to things they don’t want to do or don’t need to do.
Result-Oriented – A good leader knows that intentions are not worth much if the impact is not what you were shooting for. Measuring impact and results will always be a superior measure to success.
Self-Awareness – Practicing introspection to allow you to improve your life is a great skill of a leader. If you are willing to learn who you are and why you are the way you are and how to build yourself into the person you want to become while loving who you are, you’re a great leader in the making.
Self-Belief – A good leader must believe in themselves, but part of self-belief is the ability to believe in others too. Studies show that folks who have low self-belief tend to have a lack of belief in others too.
Strategic Thinking – An effective leader can analyze current information and use it to make choices that help them create the long-term success they seek to position themselves to win the future essentially.
To become a well-respected leader is to embark on a path of self-education to assess what you need to improve on to become the leader you desire to be and where you shine so you can focus on what you are naturally good at doing as you improve yourself. These are the first steps to becoming a thought leader who will inspire and motivate others.
Can Anyone Be a Good Leader? What About Youth and Young Adults?
Teaching youth and young adults to be leaders is a worthwhile pursuit, I believe. Leadership skills are important for all kinds of successes in life, from employment to relationships. And the general consensus is that such skills are lacking among adults and young people. Whether you have youth and young adults in your home or otherwise under your supervision, you can invest in their futures by teaching them how to be leaders.
Here are some tips for teaching youth and young adults to be leaders…
Give Them Responsibility
As a youth group leader, parent, teacher, or other authority figure, this can seem like a scary prospect. Are they ready for responsibility? Can they handle it? Give them something to be responsible for that will build their self-confidence, but don’t make it something that’s life-and-death. Take your teens’ personal skills, strengths, and weaknesses into consideration, too. Here are some examples of responsibilities for teens.
* Running an errand for you, such as picking up something from the store. If they can’t drive, you can drop them off to run the errand.
* Opening up a bank account.
* Let them lead a class or group.
* Household chores like laundry could be delegated to the young adults and teens in your home.
* Have them organize the set-up and clean-up of an event.
One of those ironies of good leadership is that being under leadership is often a great way to learn it. Youth and young adults would do well to work at least part time, thus learning responsibility and also learning what is involved in good leadership. Having a job is an important responsibility that can prepare young people to lead.
Consider jobs like camp counselor or babysitter, too. Those are both jobs that put young people in charge of others.
Are there leadership workshops available in your area? If not, see if you can hire a leadership consultant to come in and speak to your group. Maybe you can find someone to speak to your teen’s class, or hold a seminar on your young adult’s college campus. If there is a workshop available, take your youth group to the workshop, or sign your kids up.
Groups and Organizations
Organizations like Boy and Girl Scouts are also good ways for young adults and youth to learn leadership skills. Don’t let the names “boy” and “girl” deter you – there are all kinds of opportunities in these organizations for youth and young adults. Other clubs and groups encourage leadership among members, too. I’ve been involved in Rotary International and as a Rotarian I’m used to asking Can anyone Become a Leader? and then finding ways to make that possible through service to others. Find out about what is offered in your community – even your local YMCA/YWCA might have some ideas or programs.
Connie Ragen Green is a former classroom teacher and real estate appraiser who left it all behind to come online in 2006. As an author of more than twenty books, publisher, international speaker, and entrepreneur she serves others on six continents by helping new authors, speakers, and entrepreneurs to build their own lucrative online businesses. Connie is also active with several non-profits including Rotary International, the Boys & Girls Club, Zonta, and SEE International.