Of course, it's important to have the skills, but that's only a portion of the pie chart. The most important characteristic of leadership is confidence.
Many people will argue that confidence is gained through failure and success. That may be true in some instances—it may even help you become a leader.
But a true leader is born confident. I grew up a leader in football, basketball, theater, Boy Scouts, etc. I was never the best—not once—but I was always a leader. I had confidence.
How does a leader act with confidence? Through decisiveness and passion.
You can see confidence in leaders who know what they want. They are decisive. They don't mull long over an issue, but they don't rush to snap judgments either. To most people, a leader always seems like he or she knows what to do, regardless of whether a choice is right or wrong (of course, if you're wrong more often than you're right, your days will be numbered, but that's another post).
Passion is the other characteristic of confidence. Passion comes when you find something you love—the job that inspires you to live. Passion will keep you up reading topical blogs at 2 a.m. Passion will have all your conversations relating back to your love. It will keep you awake, as you mull the perfect solution. With this passion comes confidence, and when people feel this passion in you—and they will—they'll follow you to the goal.
Now go out there: Be decisive, be passionate, and lead away!
Brandon Alsup graduated from Marquette University with a degree in accounting. He is working for a Big 4 accounting firm in Milwaukee while attending University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for a master's degree in taxation. Brandon blogs his ideas and experiences on Newly Corporarte. He hopes to help other generation Y's navigate the working world and avoid the mistakes he made!