How To Be A Successful Leader While In Your 20s

by Kerri Schreiber

In our early 20s, we may want that taste of power and, granted, some of us are ready for it. Taking on a large responsibility in a club, class or sport is a positive thing we should embrace, but how do we undertake the title of captain or manager while still staying humble?

Throughout my four years in college, I have been a member of numerous clubs and activities. Some of these activities have allowed others and myself to take on leadership roles to help us grow and learn a very important skill — managing people.

What I’ve seen from watching others take on these roles is that many are not mature enough for this type of power. There are a lot of people out there who have leadership qualities, but do not yet know how to use their power in a rational, educated manner.

Should someone who isn’t “leadership material" maturity-wise be awarded a position? Maybe this person has been around for a while and has proven him or herself in the club/activity, but a leadership role will make him or her complacent. I truly believe everyone should have a chance, but what are the steps that must be met before earning that opportunity?

The bottom line is this — leaders have a passion to teach others and make the rest of the group, team and students around them better. Not only do they help those around them become better workers, but better people in all aspects of life.

In our 20s, our eyes light up at the first thought of having power. Since we are still learning about ourselves, we tend to turn that focus on the title rather than on the full meaning of the position. Therefore, instead of helping the ones who need the most guidance, we look for ways to keep piling bullet points on our resumes.

Leaders should have a common goal: to build a brighter future for the group they lead. Being selfless and willing to sacrifice are both important aspects. Creating a legacy for the collective group as a whole should be an objective and not just for oneself.

Also, a mature leader's self-identity should be established prior to obtaining the job. Even as seniors and juniors in college, yes, we are still developing our identities, but leaders who are ready will continue to learn about themselves through others.

Once that learning experience can happen, our understanding of the world and people in it will make more sense. It will allow you to become open-minded, always looking for new, fresh ideas instead of disregarding somebody who may be new to the group. Sometimes the leader won't be the best person of the group, but he or she should have the right qualities.

In order to be successful leaders, we must put our differences behind us and embrace the unusual. Take the time to learn from each person you will be working with.

The true reward isn’t being the top dog, it’s having the chance to watch others grow and say, “I was the reason these people are where they are today."

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