When thinking of leaders, who comes to mind first? Presidents? CEOs? People with high ranking and a lot of power? You likely do, but it’s important to remember that these are not the only people who are, or who can be, leaders. Leadership can happen everywhere – at school, at work, or in a community. If you’re interested in taking on a leadership role at work or elsewhere, here are some simple steps you can take that could help you along the way.

  1. Identify the Top Leaders in Your Life

Take some time to think about and identify five people in your life that you consider as leaders, and why you consider them leaders. They don’t have to be “typical” leaders – in fact, it’s even better if they aren’t. These leaders could be friends, family members —really, anyone who’s a leader in your own world.

  1. Think About Your Strengths and What You Have to Offer

Take time to identify what you believe your top 5 leadership strengths are. Remember that not all leaders have the same strengths, that the ones needed to lead people through high-pressure and performance situations aren’t necessarily the same ones needed to lead people through conflict or crisis. This list of qualities is a good place to start, but remember, they are not the only ones.

  1. Think About What’s Most Important to You

With 2022 on the horizon, it’s easy to start thinking of what you want to accomplish next year – at work, in your community, and beyond. Think about what’s most important to you, and how you want to have a positive impact on that thing in the year to come. It might end up being something that’s always been a dream, or something new that surprises you.

  1. How Do You Feel About What’s Most Important to You?

Finally, write down how you feel about what’s most important to you and why. Then, look at your strengths list again. Is there overlap or synergies between the lists? If so, consider this as a place where you might want to begin. For example, “I feel empathy is one of my strengths, and I feel passionate about helping people in need in my community.” This could indicate that there’s a leadership role for you to play in leading philanthropic efforts at your company, or in your community.

  1. Take This New Wisdom and Run With It

As you go about your everyday life, continue to get in touch with these feelings, and think about how and where to get started. Is there something you can be doing at work to help you reach your goal? In your community? At your child’s school? Decide what that looks like, and commit to raising your hand to participate in something new. The opportunities to lead will follow.