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Anyone can learn to be a leader

June 29, 2010|By BRIGITTE GREWE / Pulse correspondent

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary online, a leader is a person who leads as a guide or a conductor.

But spend a couple days at a leadership camp or convention and you learn to take on a new perspective on what a "leader" is.

The feeling of being able to pave the way for another and guide others gives a sense of confidence that can only be gained through leadership.

Many times you will encounter a situation where you want something to happen in your school or community but just never knew how to.

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If you're already a leader, things to keep in mind are that you don't always have to take on all the responsibilities. Part of being a good leader is also being a good listener. Motivate others to take on more of the load so you're not stuck with everything, leaving you in a panicked mess. Share the love. Don't keep it all to yourself.

Setting goals is a good way to keep your projects organized and on track. Setting short-term goals and long-term goals is key. And make sure they are all manageable and timely.

Recognize what you're good at. Are you dedicated? Organized? Ambitious? Noticing what makes you able to guide all the rest and set you apart is one of the primary things to do before you can do anything else.

Learn how you can empower others by seeing what persuades people to make certain decisions. This can happen through motivation and persuasion.

Being a leader can be as simple or as hard as you make it. And you don't necessarily have to be the most outgoing or talkative person around to be one. Everyone can use their own abilities to make an impact around them.

The outgoing one

Use your outgoing talents to show how you can guide everyone else. Be the leader. Be the head of clubs, the president or an officer. Talk to others and spread the word on what you have in mind. You have a gift of being able to persuade verbally.

Just by being yourself and talking, you have the power of influencing others. However, there is a difference between being pushy and being outgoing. To avoid the pushy factor, don't hover over people or be a bully but make it a point that what you have to say is important. Use your talking skills wisely to develop friendship and get along with people rather than annoy people. It takes experience to develop your outgoing skills but once you work at it, there's no stopping you.

The shy one

If you're not really too talkative and keep to yourself but find that you want a say, a good way to start is by joining clubs and groups.

Whether it is at your church, school or community, joining a group of your interest can inform you and push a step further in making a change. Or be a silent speaker: write.

Join your school's newspaper team or yearbook club. Voice your thoughts through words. How else would America's independence be possible without Thomas Jefferson's help? He was a pretty shy politician who rarely spoke publicly other than at his inauguration.

Julia Roberts and Jim Carrey were said to both be shy people as kids but overcame their shyness doing what they loved best - acting. And if you do what you love, you can reach your goals and become an inspiration for others by leading others.

The one in-between

If you are like most people and are neither outgoing nor shy you have an advantage. Being a level-headed individual, you have the benefit of playing both of your personalities.

An in-betweener can use his or her outgoing side to make friends and get along with others. While he or she can use their quieter side to be a good listener because listening to others' opinions is very important in being a leader. You also have the charisma without being overbearing. You understand that you cannot take control of all the projects and must include others as well but can also be willing to give your opinion if your group gets stuck.

Really, being a leader isn't all that hard. Everyone can be one in his or her own way. But to improve your leadership qualities know that being a good listener is being passionate in what you want to accomplish.

Talk to your guidance counselor or student government adviser about leadership opportunities such as camps and conventions.

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