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Whether you’re looking for a new field, trying to advance into a new position within your career or looking to rise up the ranks in your organization, one characteristic stands out more than most to potential employers: leadership. You’d be hard-pressed to find a business that is looking for someone who considers him or herself to be a follower. The value of leadership qualities and characteristics extend beyond their roles in positions of leadership like a branch manager or director. Approaching your life like a leader can have enormous and measurable impacts not only on your success in the job market and at work, but in your personal life and relationships.

Take Charge

If nothing else, take this point away from this article. Taking charge is the epitome of what it means to be a leader, regardless of what scenario you find yourself in. Taking charge can be more indicative of a real leader than almost anything else. It can also be an incredibly easy task, as leadership is required in everything from planning a company outing or divvying out tasks to running point of an entire team on a campaign. The next time an opportunity arises that requires that someone step up and take on a larger role, consider taking it. Not only will it make a good impression on those around you, you’ll also begin to see your leadership qualities increase.

Be Honest and Upfront…

Transparency is a fantastic characteristic for someone in a leadership position to possess, as it allows for honest two-way communication between a boss and a subordinate. Being able to admit when you don’t know how something works, or when you need help is the first step in capturing the respect of your coworkers/friends.

…But Don’t Be Afraid to Step In

Honesty about your capabilities is one thing, but a willingness to step up when needed is a completely separate–yet equally important–leadership trait. Taking on new and exciting challenges shows an eagerness to learn and grow, not only within your field but as a whole.

Take Risks

Before you get too far ahead of yourself, it’s important to take risks, yes, but it’s much more important to take calculated risks. There is an unspeakably large gap between the risk of rolling out a new product and the risk of betting your life savings on a hand of blackjack. If you’re willing to put your reputation on the line by trying a new approach to an old problem, as long as the risk is carefully calculated, don’t be afraid to give it a shot. People of power don’t get anywhere in life by settling in, so stand out and take risks in life.

But Don’t Refuse to Compromise

In situations of high tension or high pressure, more often than not compromise will be the best way out. Compromise, not to be confused with unquestionably conceding your opinion to others, is something that leaders must be capable of doing. This isn’t to say that leaders should always compromise–rather that they must always be open to the idea behind it. Knowing how and when to compromise is a hallmark of a leader.

If you consider yourself to be a leader, whether it’s in your personal or professional life, hats off to you. Leadership is a character trait that will get most people further in life than almost any other. If you don’t consider yourself to be a leader, it’s time to start acting the part; the rewards behind leadership are too good to miss out on.