Student Life

Become a Leader

Mary Barrett

April 21, 2009

Become a Leader
Becoming a leader on campus sets the stage for future leadership opportunities.
<p>To achieve success and become a leader, it is important that you believe that your dreams can become a reality.

First, you must believe that you are a future leader. You must believe in yourself and your abilities. Leadership starts with confidence, a vision and an idea.

People of all ages, races and genders need role models. Seek a role model who portrays positive qualities, can offer you the necessary guidance and support, and who can share their time and talents with you. Consider your teachers, counselors, family members and other adults in your life as role models. By offering you their guidance and giving you opportunities to give back through community service, they can serve as effective role models. A report by the Search Institute states that 36 percent of schools do not offer community service opportunities. Therefore, often you may need to create your own opportunities by taking some initiative.

Jack Welch, the former chairman of General Electric once said, "Leadership starts with vision. With leadership, the question at the beginning and at the end of the day is, how far can we take this…how big can we grow it…and how fast can we get there?" You need to ask yourself those same questions. Plant the seeds for your future vision. It is up to you to create an environment in which you can soar.

Creating this environment begins with inspirational leadership and the tools to effectively establish and develop a vision. Establishing a vision of where you want to be in the long term will inspire others to look to the future. A vision is an aim for the future. As a leader, you must provide the necessary motivation for you and others to define what they are aiming for and to compare it to where you are now.

It would be nice if we could all become leaders by following a few simple rules, but a path to leadership is much more complex and requires important traits. Some of these key traits, as outlined by the Small Business Association, include:

Enthusiasm: Leaders are usually seen as active, expressive and energetic. They are often very optimistic and open to change.

Conscientiousness: Leaders are often dominated by a sense of duty and tend to be exacting in character. They have a high standard of excellence and an inward desire to do their best. They also have a need for order and tend to be very self-disciplined.

Self-assurance: Self-confidence and resiliency are common traits among leaders.

Toughmindedness: Good leaders are practical, logical and to-the-point. They tend to be low in sentimental attachments, comfortable with criticism and are very poised.

These are some of the basic traits a leader must possess, and it depends on how you cultivate these traits within yourself.

Leaders are made, not born. If you want to become a leader, you must begin with motivation and educating yourself. Good leaders develop through a never-ending process of self-study, education, training and experience.

You are a leader of tomorrow, and your future as a leader depends on your ability to follow these practices. Remember, when you set your mind to do something, you can achieve greatness.

Mary Barrett is a motivational speaker, author and mother of a teenager. This article reprinted with permission.

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