First 30 Days Blog

19 dec

How to Become a Natural Leader

JennaSmithPeople aren’t born leaders – they become them. Like many other life skills, leadership is something you learn; with the right tools and education, anyone can master the four components of true leadership:

  • Effective communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Ethical reasoning
  • Goal setting

If you work on cultivating these four key areas, you will soon find yourself increasing your natural ability to lead and guide others. Whether you hope to use leadership skills to motivate a team at work, or to help mentor young people in a youth group, you will quickly find that improving your leadership abilities helps increase your groups’ results. Being a leader, after all, isn’t about bossing people around or telling them what to do; it’s about working together to get a job done.

Here are a few recommendations to improve your leadership skills:

1. Take a leadership course

There are numerous, highly effective leadership courses available, from the Dale Carnegie leadership course to the leadership development program offered by the Army and Navy Academy. Whether you are a student, a working adult, or a full-time parent, there are leadership courses that fit your schedule and your budget. Look for courses that focus on the four components of effective leadership listed above.

2. Engage in specific activities to build leadership strengths

There are specific activities that help build each of the four primary leadership strengths. For instance, to build your communication skills, try playing the Mine Field Game:

  • · Blindfold a partner and verbally lead him or her through a “mine field” of small objects
  • · If the partner touches one of the objects, you lose the game
  • · If you communicate well, helping your partner avoid the mines and reach the other side, then you both win!

3. Seek out opportunities to lead

Leadership education means nothing unless it is paired with tangible, real-world opportunities. If you are a student, see if you can lead an initiative in student government or in your residence hall association. If you are in the workforce, ask if you can take a leadership role on a project or on one of your company’s committees. Then, use your leadership skills to unify your team around the pursuit of a common goal – and work together to accomplish that goal.

4. Mentor a young person (or seek out an adult mentor)

The teenager/adult mentor relationship is invaluable for building leadership skills, and both the young person and the adult learn how to be better leaders through the process. When you join a mentor relationship, both the mentor and the pupil are able to bring new perspectives to problem solving and goal setting. The young person learns from the adult’s experience, and the adult learns from the teenagers’ fresh perspectives. Both complete the mentor relationship ready to take these new skills back to their peer teams and become more effective leaders as a result.

5. Stand up for an important cause

One way to quickly become a leader is to stand up for an important cause. Maybe you’re a student who wants to improve school lunch quality, like Martha Payne of Never Seconds. Maybe you want your company to institute a better recycling program. Maybe you want your community to build a new park where children can play. If you find a cause in which you truly believe, you often do the work of building leadership skills without even thinking about it.

It’s easy to become a “natural leader”—all you need is an understanding of what makes a leader, and consistently practicing each of leadership’s four key areas.

Leadership education is key to living a successful life, so explore opportunities to build your leadership skills and then seize real-world opportunities in your life to lead.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on December 19th, 2013 in Career, New Directions | 0 comments Read related posts in ,

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