As a student, you’ll be familiar with many different examples of leaders. From history books to current affairs to the classroom to the workplace, you’ll have learned by now that there’s no such thing as “one size fits all.” When it comes to leadership, it looks different every time.
Scientific studies have even suggested that leadership is 30% genetic and 70% learned, which discredits the idea that people are born leaders. In fact, it flips it and proposes that leaders (in whatever capacity they exist) are made.
Of course, some people have more natural leadership qualities than others, while some learn how to be good leaders out in the real world. Regardless of how you obtain these skills, there’s always room to grow, and isn’t now the perfect time to hone in on these abilities and develop leadership competency for your future?
What is the *idea* of leadership?
When stripped down to its source, leadership is when one has the aptitude to lead and generate a following. Which means there are no fancy titles needed to consider someone a leader.
For example, in a school setting, you don’t need to be the Prefect for people to respect you. All you need is a passion for a cause, and the motivation and confidence to ask others to join you.
What does effective leadership look like?
Whether it be in a business climate, an activist one, or any other area, you’ll notice that great leaders have extraordinary communication skills (which we’ll touch on later). Fully mastering this non-negotiable plus the following ones is what sets them apart from others, and allows them to articulately share and execute their visions with others:
- Motivation: Successful leaders will be able to stimulate and inspire people to work hard to achieve communal goals.
- No ego: They’re in touch with reality and value the input, help and expertise from others. No one likes someone who thinks they’re better than everyone else and actively shows it.
- Listen: We’ll also go into detail on this later, too. Those who are willing to listen and respond to feedback from others, plus admit when they’ve made a mistake make great leaders. Eagerness to learn combined with a commitment to improvement is the perfect productivity fuel for fire.
How can you develop your leadership skills?
Regardless of whether you plan on running for Prime Minister, running your own business or taking whatever you’re passionate about in life to the next level, developing the below skills will play an integral part in shaping your overall leadership ones.
Remember, it doesn’t matter what capacity you wish to use them in – just having them readily available in your personal toolkit is vital for personal growth.
1. Make goals
At the start of every year, establish your individual goals, whether they’re physical or emotional. Check-in with yourself periodically every month to assess your progression, and document it as you go.
For example, if your goal is to improve your confidence, set yourself social tasks that slowly break you out of your comfort zone. Whether it’s speaking up more in class when you have an opinion or know the answer, or it’s joining an after or out-of-school activity, the more you push yourself to do things, the easier they become. (This obviously applies to any target.)
2. Practice honesty
Educational settings are great places to talk about honesty – especially in subjects like history or literature. During your lectures or seminars, if you’re studying a notable historical figure or character, start a discussion with your peers, exploring the life of the person and the decisions they made.
Examine which of their actions were honest and dishonest (if there were any), and discuss the outcomes of them. Plus, take it into the 21st century and deliberate what you can learn (or do better) from the person’s experience as a leader.
3. Instil hard work and perseverance
Nothing in life comes easy(ish). Remember that. It’s important to always value hard work and success but to also value failure, too.
This is where perseverance comes in. It’s instrumental to continue working hard regardless of the obstacles you face. There will be periods when even after investing hours of your time and effort, you won’t get the results you want. A successful leader won’t lose hope or give up – instead, they’ll persevere, remain consistent and not lose sight of the end goal.
Big thanks to Ben Dracup for writing this blog!Ben is the SEO manager at Minty Digital, a digital marketing company primarily focusing on SEO, Digital PR and Google Ads.
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