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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 135 | September 6, 2009|


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Career Pro

Anyone Can Be A Leader!

Quazi M. Ahmed

WHAT does it really take to be a leader? Who is capable of leading, and how is it done?

The dictionary defines leadership as, "a person who by force of example, talents, or qualities plays a directing role, wields motivating influence, or has a following in any sphere of activity or thought." So in other words, a leader is someone who paves the way in a new, positive direction. And that some one can be anyone. Most importantly it can be you!!

We often think of leadership as positional…in a student club, the president is the leader by right of title. But often, leadership is grounded in the creativity and drive of an individual who can just be a member of the club. Someone sees a need and attracts others into a process to foster change. For instance, I saw that need in the eyes of Chowdhury Quaseed a student at NSU in the year 1997 and he was determined to take an NSU debating team at the World Universities Debating Championships. Even as the Debating Club Advisor, I couldn't conceive it, but he could and made it happen with sheer determination and enthusiasm. For many leaders of this sort, the journey begins with a single decision. And it can come from anyone, because anyone can be a leader.

To reach your potential as a leader, know who you are, and know your purpose! If you don't, you're probably wasting more energy and efforts on things you shouldn't. A good leader knows why s/he's doing what s/he does and what to expect from his/her team. A good leader always helps his/her team to keep focus on the vision. Would you follow someone lacking purpose and direction in leading? One of the key issues with leaders is that they know really well what they're good at. But more important, they are 100 percent clear of their strengths and weaknesses. They know their strengths so that they can maximize them, and they know their weaknesses so that they can surround themselves with other team members and friends who compensate for them. Know your purpose, and people will follow.

Your values are your internal laws, the ones that direct all your actions. You'll know you've broken one of those laws, the minute you feel uncomfortable with your actions. If you want to identify your core values, watch your actions. Values and character define leadership. One of the most important values you should foster is integrity. Being a true leader is being able to stand up for what you believe in. They don't use false facades or "poker faces"- as the expression goes. Instead, they say what they mean and mean what they say. They are aware of their own inner voices and selves, and strive to know themselves better everyday. Whether you are a student or a professional, today's work is a call for working on teams, and today more than ever personal relationships play a big role in the outcomes of every team or work group. The ability to develop good relationships is one that a leader needs to work on to connect with his/her team, and will result in a deeper commitment of the group to their work. They know that their "purpose" as a leader is to SERVE those that they lead. Therefore, they have genuine concern for the people they lead. They never belittle or humiliate others; and they do not discount the opinions of others, even when they disagree with them. Know your people's strengths--enhancing a person's positive attributes allows him to use more of his potential.

One of the most important leadership skills is motivating people. Leadership is the ability to be looked upon as a role model. Lead from the front (or walk the talk)…be the first to volunteer if you want volunteers. Leaders can motivate being an example for their teams. Appealing to your team's hearts and minds is more than giving a pep talk, knowing them and having a good understanding of why they're working on a extracurricular project. A good leader knows how to appeal the souls of their fellow students to reach performances way ahead of what is expected. Leadership is the ability to lead people or represent them. It all starts with responsibility…your actions not only affect you, but everyone you represent.

Finally, self discipline is the quality that helps you gain the respect of others around you. No matter how good you're at something, if you can't perform consistently and with discipline in the long term you will not have the respect of your group. Your actions reveal your values, so if you want to lead, you should rely on self discipline. Nobody follows someone who can't control him/herself. Give up being right…sometimes you have to show you know you won't be right all the time. That's one of the hallmarks of strong leaders.

So as you can see there are many different aspects to leadership. But at the end of the day it all starts with just one essential feature…YOU! A leader can be anyone from anywhere, doing anythingas long as he or she is making a positive change. And we all have huge leadership potential in all of us, because everyone has something unique to offer in one way, shape or form. Know yourself, don't be afraid to test your limits, always stick to your passion and dreams, and most of all believe in yourself. "The world is your oyster" and you can lead the way!

The writer is CEO, Futureleaders www.futureleaders-bd.com


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