I was born in the USSR during difficult times.
As a child, watching the adults around me, I realized that to be strong you need to cultivate the leader inside you.
My parents always told me that the main thing is to be yourself. I think I was lucky because I learned early on that it was better to do whatever myself, instead of waiting for someone else to do it, which made it easier for me to exist in those hard times — fortunately they passed.
In other words, I developed a lot of initiative and initiative is the number one requirement of being a leader.
Now, when I read books about being a leader and leadership, I almost always become annoyed. As Wally Bock explains in his blog post, Leadership “wisdom” that makes me crazy
I know from my childhood that not everyone is willing/able to lead and that’s OK. I also learned that nobody can lead all the time.
Of course, I am talking about real leaders as opposed to positional leaders — not all bosses are leaders and not all leaders are bosses.
Simply put, we are all different. Being a leader is an attitude that says “action speaks louder than words” as opposed to education or a set of memorized to-do’s.
In short, real leadership is only learned by doing.
That’s why these actions that demonstrate real leadership and they are underpinned/driven by your natural human qualities of character.
But even with initiative and attitude it still takes work to become a truly authentic leader. Authentic leaders “are sensitive to the impact their words and actions have on others” and that constant awareness is honed by substantial experience no matter your role.
So, if you think leadership is your thing don’t wait to be a boss or get an MBA to do it. Show your initiative and lead any time you get the chance. People will notice and positional leadership opportunities will appear.