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If leaders are made and not born, then you should start making changes right now if you want to become a leader someday.  Becoming a leader is a process you’ll have to undergo by grabbing opportunities that give you a shot at taking a lead role.  Here’s how you can turn the cards in your favor.

 Be available. 

Volunteer, raise your hand, have your say.  People won’t notice your potential to become a leader if you perpetuate the image of a shrinking violet.  Be available for activities that show off your skills and what you can do well.

 Don’t wait to be told.

If you see an opportunity where your service, skill or talent can be put to good use, don’t wait for an invitation.  Roll up your sleeves and dig in.  People appreciate a person who doesn’t have to be told what to do.  

 Position yourself.

There’s one thing you should remember when volunteering and that is proper positioning.  Try to assume roles that will be great stepping stones towards opportunities that will offer more responsibilities and potential for leadership in the future.  

 If you get stuck and become associated with positions that offer no advancement, it could take you a long time to become a leader, if at all.  Go for opportunities that will expand your role and expose you to more challenging tasks.

 Build relationships.

You can’t be your own island if you want to grab opportunities to become a leader.  Go out there, meet people and seek out the ones you can learn from.  Leaders are great at picking their relationships so you should learn early on how to pick the right people who can help you assume a leadership role in the future.  Learn from a mentor, if you must.

 Create your own opportunities.

You can’t hope to grab opportunities as a leader by simply sitting on your desk within the four corners of your room each day of the week.  Go out there and find out where the action is.  Be in the thick of things.  If you have the right kind of exposure, you create a buzz about your leadership potential so next time there’s a need to elect the head of a team, your name will be recognizable to more people.

 By exposing yourself to opportunities, you increase your chances of learning new things and finding out about changes.  This will help you keep track of new developments and let you impose immediate changes should they be necessary.  Don’t let these great opportunities to become a leader pass you by.