How do I get Leadership Experience?

Felicia Dye

Leadership skills can be essential to a number of goals that you may have. In some cases, the skills may be helpful, even if they are not necessary. If you need to gain leadership experience, there are a number of ways you may be able to do so, depending on your circumstances.

Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

If you are still in school, that is an ideal place to begin developing your leadership experience. You can do this by joining clubs or the student government. You may have to start in a low-ranking position and work your way up. If you feel you are ready and you have the support, you may be able to obtain a senior position immediately.

You may be able to use your job to get leadership experience, if you have passed your school days. Perhaps the position you are in meets your financial needs and utilizes the skills you have but does not allow you to develop or display your abilities as a leader. You may be able to change this by applying for a different position. One in a supervisory or management role may offer you the opportunity you need.

There may be similar opportunities available in other areas of your life. If you are a member of a club or would like to join a club, you may be able to become an officer. Helping to shape an organization you are not reliant on for income may allow you more liberty to define your leadership experience. You may be able to find similar opportunities in organizations such as a parent-teacher association or community governing body.

It may also be helpful to invest in leadership training. There are programs that can help you develop the skills you need. In many cases, these programs operate similar to other educational courses. One advantage, however, is that these programs often involve coaches. These are people who help drive you toward your goals and who identify areas of weakness.

Joining the military is also an option to develop leadership experience, although it can involve a great deal of patience and discipline. Military organizations are structured so people with the ability to lead can be given that type of responsibility in increments. This allows them to develop their skills and to grasp important lessons, such as even when you become a leader, there is generally still a limit to your authority.

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