Leadership is often about turning potential into performance

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At the Effective Leadership Academy, we explain to students that leadership has nothing to do with a title and everything to do with character.
In one of our programs, a student met all of the traditional academic checkpoints, but she lacked confidence. We noticed a turning point when she learned about the strengths and weaknesses of her personality. She used this newfound realization to her advantage. 
At the program’s final networking event, she spoke seamlessly to five business professionals and created authentic connections. The impact from our program was evident, and the growth that this student experienced during a week was fantastic, but not unusual.
This student’s transformation is just one of many because our programs empower youth to find the leader within themselves, whether that means being in front of a crowd with all eyes on them, or being a role model and leading by example.
Although everyone is born with the capability to be a leader, only those who take the initiative to harness this power will achieve their full potential. ELA’s mission is to help students turn their potential into performance by developing their most valuable asset — themselves.
How do you achieve that potential?
ELA’s core concepts, shared with all of our students, are the following: Keep an open mind, think outside the box, embrace change and be self-aware. Leaders are the ones who don’t push down another person’s ideas. They lift them up, they collaborate, and they enhance the ideas.
Leaders realize there may be more than one solution to a problem and that the solution may be odd, unique or unconventional. They should constantly challenge the status quo, while simultaneously having an open mind that allows them to see that perhaps the current solution is best.
Leaders are the ones prepared for any changes that may come their way and understand how to adjust. Leaders take the time to assess their environment and use whatever experience that comes their way as an opportunity.
The crux of developing these core concepts is having the right mindset. Students who are willing to have a growth mindset will become catalysts for positive change. A growth mindset will prepare them to live responsible, independent, adult lives, whether they enter the workforce or ultimately pursue higher education.
Leadership traits aren’t just useful in the workforce or professional life but transcend to make an impact in personal lives, as well. Schools, families and friends need leaders just as much as businesses, government and the military.

Many are born into leadership roles, but true leaders are not born, they are made. This means that anyone has the potential to cultivate themselves and become the type of leader they want to be. Being born into a powerful or wealthy family doesn’t make anyone a leader. Striving to be a positive influence and taking responsibility for developing potential in others is what makes a leader.

Flo Brett is Executive Director at Effective Leadership Academy