Nowadays, there’s so much rhetoric about taking initiative and being a leader. It’s a lot of pressure, particularly on young people. Everyone is told that they need to be a leader to stand out from the pack and establish yourself as dominant, but when you insinuate that the only way to be is in charge, you run into some problems. Being a leader isn’t the end all, achieve all goal, and I think a lot of people believe that they need to force their way into it to be successful. This is how complexes and conflicts start, and I don’t recommend it.
A true leader never has to force their way into anything. They can push and nudge and even cajole—never force. It’s important to take charge and control of situations, no doubt; in doing so, though, be careful not to usurp someone’s position or tread on the their toes. For example, if you don’t like the way a club or group is being run, a good leader would bring the issue directly to the president as opposed to going over their head. It’s about being respectful as well –no one would want to follow a leader who can’t be considerate of others. Occasionally, it pays to take charge, which is what leading is all about, but being to quick to jump the gun hinders both you and everyone around you.
Leaders are listeners, and they listen with more than just their ears. Picking up on peoples’ body language and what they don’t say is critical to being a leader, because it’ll clue you in on how to make others like you. When people look to a leader, they want someone who they feel will anticipate and understand their need before they have to vocalize them. This requires a boatload of intuition and patience, so I wouldn’t take it on unless you’re sure you can handle it.
Being a leader also entails knowing when to step down if you push and shove and barge your way into situations, you’ll just look like a bull in a social china shop. Tactful people tend to garner more support, so always remember your manners, even when you want to toss them out the window, and take someone in a headlock. Leaders always know when to wait and when to spring—your time will come, but forcing it will only set you back.
Remember to always be the leader you wanted to see!