Every leader starts somewhere, and usually they start with little to no formal training. If you read the stories of many great leaders, you’ll be surprised to find that there are commonalities between each of them, no matter the generation, country, or culture they were born into. Below, you’ll find ten lessons that each great leader has learned. These lessons, if implemented, could take your career to the level you’ve been dreaming of.

See what these leaders wish they knew about leadership…

  1. Self-Awareness: We believe that your inner game runs your outer game. Meaning that your life cannot manifest greatness if you’re unaware of who you are and what’s happening inside of you. This also does not mean learning how to be perfect. When you become aware of where you fall short, and where you succeed, you’ll be able to lead better and more effectively.
  2. Risks Are Good: Many people avoid risks. Risks can be scary, even career threatening. But in order to be a leader, you absolutely must take risks. Playing it safe isn’t always the appropriate answer.
  3. Mistakes Will Be Made: Leadership is learning to fail well. How you respond to things, especially failure, will define you. As a leader, being able to fail, pick yourself up, admit failure, learn from it and try again, is a beautiful thing.
  4. Be Confident, Not Arrogant: Confidence is an assurance in who you are, not the need to force your perspective on people. To be a leader you need to be confident in your abilities, your knowledge, and your experiences, but you don’t need to yell it from the rooftops. Confidence and humility to very well together.
  5. Be Kind: Although it may seem like it in heated moments, our emotions do not control us. Choosing kindness over anger sets great leaders apart from the rest. Remember that kindness can go a very long way with people. One way to be kind is to keep perspective of situations and be intentional with others.
  6. Know Your Leadership Strengths: Similarly to having confidence, know exactly what your strengths are. You are a growing leader for a reason. Identify where you excel, and continue to learn in those areas.
  7. Know Your Weaknesses: More importantly than knowing your strengths is knowing your weaknesses. You can’t be good at everything, and no one expects you to be. Every great leader has a great support system behind him or her. So identify where you struggle, and find people that exceed you in those areas.
  8. Stay In Your Lane: Stop looking around at what everyone else is doing. If you become consumed by what others are doing, your vision could be muddied; especially your vision of success as it relates to your career. Remember, comparison can rob you of your joy. You don’t need to do what everyone else is doing.
  9. Be Vulnerable: Professionals who exude leadership know when to ask for help. Thousands of leaders have been before you. They have gone through what you’re experiencing, struggled the same struggles, and walked similar paths. If you find yourself with questions, ask for help.
  10. Be Patient: Great things take great patience. Which means that, unfortunately, your dreams won’t become reality overnight. Stay the course.

Your career, and its success, is solely up to you. Wise people take time to learn from those who went before them. Be intentional about being a leader first, and a student second.