Student Life

Developing Leadership Skills

Mckenzie Nevins

October 26, 2016

Developing Leadership Skills
Choosing to become a leader when you don’t feel like one can be one of the most beneficial things you’ll ever do.
I’d been staring at the application so long that the words were beginning to blur together. There was no way I could do this job. Not ever. It didn’t matter how much I respected the person who’d asked me. Any position that put me in leadership over other students was a definite no-no. I wasn’t a natural leader. Others were. It was just a matter of how I’d been born. Right?
Wrong. I did take that job and other leadership positions after it. These experiences taught me that not all leaders are born – sometimes they’re made. Choosing to become a leader when you don’t feel like one can be one of the most beneficial things you’ll ever do. It will grow your character and give you important training for job opportunities down the road. In fact, most of us are already leading others, whether we realize it or not – even if it’s only a younger sibling who looks up to us. Leadership skills are a necessary part of life.
So how do you get them? It’s definitely a process, but here are three of the most important leadership skills that you can begin cultivating right now – without one single how-to book!

Watch Others

In the old days, if you wanted to learn a job, you’d train under someone already doing it. The idea was that there’s no better person to learn a profession from than someone who’s on the ground doing it every day.
It’s the same with leadership. Find a friend, relative, professor, coach, or anyone else you think leads exceptionally well, and then watch them. Take into account what makes their leadership effective and how you could copy those same tactics. This could even extend to reading biographies of successful leaders in history. Believe it or not, there’s still a lot to be learned from the lives of Washington, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and hundreds of others.


Listening: it’s the simplest but most important thing any leader can do. How much would you give to have a boss or professor sit down and actually listen to your concerns about a situation? It doesn’t matter if you can actually do anything to rectify the situation. If you can, do. Otherwise, be there to hear out what the person has to say anyway. Sometimes, all a person needs is to be listened to. I have a suspicion that if you start doing this in everyday life, you’ll find yourself in leadership positions you never planned on. And you’ll be the perfect person for the job!

Learn from Your Mistakes

Everyone messes up. It’s not the end of everything. Pick yourself up and try again, but do it differently the next time. Apologize to anyone you’ve wronged, and do your best to make up for your mistakes. It takes a person of real character – a true leader – to admit when they’re wrong. Learn to do this, and you’ve already taken one enormous step in the right direction! To sum this all up, don’t be afraid to take on leadership positions when you’re asked. Think about it logically, but don’t let fear be what holds you back. Some people are born with more natural leadership qualities than others, but anyone can learn the same skills. And just think of how good they’ll sound in a job interview! Beyond that, leadership skills are an asset to your everyday life. They’ll increase your character and boost your self-esteem. So be intentional, and never give up!

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