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Saturday, December 22, 2007

5 Ways To Develop The Leader In You

Someone once wrote, "You are today actually better than yesterday and the days before because you are today's sum of what you have learned from all your yesterdays combined."

Who you are today then is a result of all that you have been through, all your experiences and opportunities that you have leveraged on. Opportunities are mere possibilities that offer the prospect of some result or outcome, if you take advantage of them.

Such is true with leadership. Leaders are made and not born; and becoming a leader is an unending process that you'll undergo by first grabbing opportunities and not letting them pass you by.

In developing yourself as a leader, you cannot simply tell yourself, "I want to develop my leadership abilities" and leave it at that, as that would simply be lip service, and you will find that you are the same person, no better at leading than the day you told yourself that. In order to develop the leader in you, you have to take action. In order to take action, you need to find opportunities, and put yourself in situations that will mold you into the leader you want to be.

Here are 5 simple ways to do that.

Volunteer

Other people will not notice your potential if are quiet as a fixture in a room like a coat hanger. Take a chance and raise your hand. Jump at every opportunity or activity to show off your skills; to show what you can do well. Get involved in activities.

Be Proactive

Don't wait to be told. If you see a chance for you to put your skill or talent to good use, don't wait for an invitation. Jump right in, people appreciate a person who does not need to be told what to do.

Position Yourself.

In selecting what to volunteer for, you should evaluate these not simply on pros and cons but how it shall serve your goal of developing your leadership abilities. Make a list of potential gains from the experience you plan to volunteer for and go for the roles that will serve as stepping stones towards more opportunities that offer more responsibilities in the future. Positions that offer no opportunities for advancement or with minimal springboard value will just delay you. Grab opportunities that will expand your role and expose you to more challenging tasks.

Build Relationships.

Leadership is all about relationships. You cannot learn to be a good leader, neither will you come across opportunities if you do not build relationships. You have to go out, meet people, and seek out those you can learn from.

Create your own opportunities.

They never really come knocking, as one old adage goes. You have to pursue them, or create them. You have to go to where the action is and see what you can do. Opportunities do not come to you as you daydream about them in the comforts of your bedroom, you have to seek them out. If you get the right kind of exposure, enjoy a measure of success and create a buzz, people will take notice and this will further translate into more opportunities in the future.

By exposing yourself to opportunities, you increase your chances of learning new things. This is essentially what leadership development is about, an admission that regardless of what you have been through and learned, there is much more to learn and there is always room for improvement, especially in leadership development.

Roy Sencio is a Certified National Trainer (CNT) accredited by Junior Chamber International (JCI), A Worldwide Federation of Young Leaders and Entrepreneurs. Find out more about leadership development at the Leadership Training Blog, or visit http://www.jcipleaders.info

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