1. Stay True to Your Passion. No leader can be effective who does not identify 100 percent with the organization’s mission. Because this identification between leader and organization is so important, it’s critical for you as an aspiring leader to identify your passion – what really drives you – and to stay true to that passion through the course of your career. If you do, you will find that this passion is a powerful resource for guiding you through the challenges of leadership the hard way.
2. Get An Invisible Mentor. No aspiring leader has to wait to be assigned a mentor. Choose and invisible mentor, someone whose behavior you study from afar. Choose someone whose leadership style you relate to and admire. Study that person closely.
3. Become a Reflective Practitioner. A term coined by organizational theorist Donald Schön in his 1983 book, a reflective practitioner is one who systematically reflects on one’s own experiences. It’s the kind of learning that happens in the moment. Build systematic reflection into your everyday activity.
4. Learn From Your People. A close relationship with your people can give you a tremendous resource for bootstrapping you r leadership capabilities. There are a variety of ways to develop that close bond – be present in the organization, don’t be afraid to expose one’s own mistakes to the organization, welcome dissent, and use your own behavior strategically. Aspiring leaders should get in the habit of thinking of their actions as a form of communication.
[Leadership the Hard Way by Dov Frohman]