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How to be a Leader in High School

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How to be a Leader in High School

What's the most important leadership trait? It's not being afraid to take risks, Jeff Zucker, president of CNN says.

Zucker is one of the people interviewed by members of the High School Leadership Academy, a nonprofit that I launched in 2014 to give students in the New York City area a chance to meet with industry leaders and develop leadership skills. Overall, he counseled us that the key to success is to work really hard, be confident and to take risks. He also advised to not be afraid to make mistakes, to admit to a mistake when you make one, and then to move forward from there.

Here are five other pieces of advice we gained from our meeting with him about leadership:

1. Be open-minded. You don’t have to know what you want to be when you grow up.

2. Work hard. The key to success is to work really hard. People who are eager and willing to work really hard stand out. Be the first one there in the morning and the last one out. Volunteer to do everything and be a sponge and absorb everything you can.

3. Be confident. Have confidence in yourself and be willing to get up off the ground and fight the next fight.

4. Be committed. Know that you will not please everyone all of the time. You will have to make some decisions that are not popular. Like Albert Einstein said, “What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.”

5. Invest in other interests. Your happiness cannot be defined by just your job.

[Want more? Here's how to sell yourself for a high school internship.]

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Zachary Bernstein is a high school senior at the Dalton School in New York City. He is the founder and President of the High School Leadership Academy, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, which provides practical leadership training to high school students focusing on skill development and exposure to business leaders. For more information on the High School Leadership Academy, please visit www.highschoolleadershipacademy.com

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