Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch

Leadership seems like a vague concept, but in reality, it is how some define success. It means taking the ball and running with it, whether you are pushing yourself to work harder in school or striving to get the big promotion at work.
Create your own definition of leadership, because it is not the same for every person. What kind of leader do you want to be?

  • Are you a problem solver?
  • Someone that inspires others?
  • The one behind the curtain making the magic happen?

There is no wrong answer. You could even be a well-rounded leader and exhibit all of the above.  Leadership is a take-charge attitude that begins on the playground. There is always that one kid that makes the decision for the group, and there are those just happy to be part of the group.
The first person you lead is yourself and that means accepting responsibility for the choices you make. You must identify your strengths and weaknesses, then work to enhance your natural skills and build on the areas that are weaker.
At the college level, you are forced to focus on a career path. It is a process that requires constant reassessment of your skills, and communication is a key element. No one is telling you what to do anymore. You must communicate your goals to others in order to develop a strategy. You effectively become the leader of your own path.
In the process of micromanaging your life, leadership skills evolve. You learn to:

  • Communicate as part of a group
  • Master constructive commentary
  • Listen to other viewpoints

In the workplace, you have the opportunity to showcase those skills.

  • Provide factual and quantitative information – You are an intern presenting a project to a department head. You can gush on and on about how well the project went or you can present facts and figures that support its success.
  • Accentuate your positive – When you apply for a new position, highlight past experiences that make you the right person
  • Show initiative – Seek out new tasks and assignments instead of waiting to be asked
  • Inspire and motivate – It is how you impact others that defines you.

The truth is, no one is born a leader, just like no one is born knowing a specific language. You must foster your natural abilities throughout life and grow into the role.

Leave a comment (or short example) on this post if you have ever had to grow into possessing leadership traits. Also, feel free to comment on this post if you have any other useful nuggets of information to share on exhibiting leadership.

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This post was originally featured on LinkedIn.