You've heard the phrase “born leader.” I don't believe in the concept. I think leaders are made, albeit from circumstance or necessity.
My first reluctant taste of leadership was running for editor of the high school paper. I had never wanted the spotlight in school or social groups, always the quiet, studious type. However, in my senior year, when I had reservations about the person running for the position, I threw my hat into the ring and won. Soon I discovered I liked being the person making the decisions and improving the newspaper.
Flash forward to my time in the military. In bootcamp, I was made the education officer. This gave me many privileges and responsibilities. Later, when I was promoted, I got my own room in the barracks and required to look after the WAVEs in my unit. I also did inspections, which I took seriously. Being
“by the book” made me immensely unpopular.
This happened again with my job at the Sheriff's Department. When I became secretary to an undercover narcotics team, I wasn't content to sit behind my desk and do transcription. I researched allegations and did background checks on criminals, compiling enough information to hand my detectives fully fleshed-out cases.
The other day I found myself with the realization that I use many of the traits I developed in past jobs and now apply them to my writer's life. I took a page from the bible and came up with these 13 commandments:
Thou shalt earn your credibility.
Honor your words and reputation.
Thou shalt not spam the Internet. Less of you is often more.
Thou shalt offer quality, not quantity.
If thou see a need, use your creativity to fill it.
Do unto others and share information and opportunities.
Thou shalt take responsibility for your education and career decisions.
Thou shalt display strength, not weakness.
Take ye calculated risks and utilize strategy
Be always aware of your image, but don't buy into your own PR.
Honor your worthiness.
Thou shalt make your flaws work in your favor.
Do not covet thy neighbors' success. Use it as inspiration.
And tho you be beset by enemies, thou shalt take the high road. Revenge only lowers you to their level. Give your foes a chance to hang themselves. Feel free to enjoy their downfall.