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The recipe for a successful leader

Sam Dutton
Opinion Editor

“The human spirit lifts the human body beyond its limits.” When I first heard this quote I instantly formulated a picture of a leader who felt passionate about a cause leading troops of people.
On my way down to Washington D.C. this past weekend to attend a leadership conference I contemplated all of the leaders in my life. I thought about my pastor, the RA’s I’ve had in the past, and even President Obama.  Then I mulled over leaders who have lead for bad purposes like Adolf Hitler, who led a horrible cause but was very successful in attracting followers. Not all leaders lead for the purpose of achieving the greater good, but I firmly believe that success as a leader is not achieved until you change lives in a sustainable way. I considered how I myself was a leader in the newspaper as an editor and as the president of habitat for humanity.
The lectures delivered at the conference centered on leadership within the business world however leadership is not confined solely to business. Developing as a successful leader is more or less like baking cookies—a process that contains many ingredients. Begin by asking oneself who you consider to be a leader and follow by developing a plan to emulate that leader. Consider the characteristics of a leader and what you need to do to become a successful one.  Reflect on the idea that leadership means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, it essentially entails guiding others.
It’s important to remember that to be considered a leader you don’t have to lead thousands like a congressman or senator, leadership can also mean leading a single person. Leaders occur on a wide spectrum ranging from leading a small family to leading the country. Next, it is important to ask for advice or help when you need it. Leaders are not flawless, and by inquiring for help one may even learn how to do things better and different.  Next, it is important that as a leader you obtain self-awareness. The final step in the recipe to developing into a successful leader is to lead something you feel passionate about and it will be an enjoyable experience. Remember that branching out from your comfort zone is never a bad thing.
As a college student, it’s imperative to establish a leadership role on campus because not only will it be a great resume builder but as a proactive student this is where the relationships between the college and a student is built. Leadership is a journey and something that you have to constantly work on and self-asses how you are doing and how you want to progress.