The world today seems to look for leaders. When you apply for university, a job, or even as you look for a position as a volunteer, they require you to have leadership skills. The most successful today, from Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg, stand out because they are great leaders.

But what does this mean to the few of us who don’t consider ourselves to be leaders?

Something that I have learnt not so long ago, as I had to prove to employers and others that I did have the leadership skills that they were looking for, is that all of us have the potential to be great leaders. Leadership goes beyond having authority and telling others what to do; it is about inspiring them and helping them move in the right direction. Being a leader is about knowing how to communicate well and motivate others; it is not about power, but rather about having the ability to work in a team, with everyone being equal. Being a leader can be one of the most rewarding experiences, especially when you get to see how your team developed over the time, and thinking that change was thanks to you.

Derek Sivers gives an inspiring talk about how to start a movement, this short 3 minute talk tells you a bit more of how to become a leader.

So if you want to find the leader within you, there are a few ways you can start:

TAKE INITIATIVE! Before you can lead a group of people, you have to be able to guide yourself. So take control of your life and become more active, find something you are passionate about and see if you can do something about it. To find the leader within you, you need to step out of your comfort zone and start to experience the many opportunities that life offers.

GET INVOLVED! No matter where you are, be it high school, university, or working full time, there are always many ways you can get involved. Participating in events and clubs is a great way to develop your leadership skills, as you have the chance to find out what your strengths and weaknesses are, and have a better idea of who you are as a person. The experience you can gain from this opportunity can turn out to be very valuable as many of the skills you will learn will probably be useful later in life for your career as well.

DO COMMUNITY WORK! Community work is one of the best ways to learn how to work in teams and improve your communication skills. A leader has to be able to work in a team, and guide the group as a whole, not to tell them what to do. Getting involved in your community is a great way not only to improve your leadership skills, but also to help others out. If you haven’t tried this yet, you are missing out on one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever live.

We can all be leaders, you just need to find the characteristics you possess that make you unique, and use that to inspire others. All of us have the potential to be a leader, take it from a very quiet and shy girl who used to think leadership was not for her.