Learning to lead starts simply with doing. Taking action and figuring out the next steps on your own is the best experience there is. Communication is a key part of leading and it is something that I have had to work with overtime, but I eventually found a style that worked for me.
Becoming a leader requires one to get involved. I have taken the approach that even in the smallest tasks, there is an opportunity to make a difference or to design a better solution.
The following list of jobs and experiences, volunteer or for pay, all contributed to shaping who I am today:
baseball player; soccer player and coach; lacrosse coach; ran track and cross country; member of a cycling team; won a few science fair awards; captain of the school safety patrol in 8th grade; volunteering in a nursing home; lawn care business at age 14; working at a grocery store as a bagger and cashier (this is where I learned how to serve); active in Boy Scouts including running a patrol and serving as a team lead for a two week backpacking trip in New Mexico; worked in a library and at a museum; served as a historic reenactor at a museum; worked at scuba diving shop and as a deckhand on a deep sea fishing boat; helped lead a religious retreat program; president of the university History Club; volunteered to teach in an inner-city DC school; volunteered on several pro-bono architecture projects in my community; facilitating workshops; for seven years I organized an annual weekend-long cycling and camping trip; president of the board for a local school; architect, planner, Naval Officer, and finally a blogger and consultant.
Each of these experiences contributed to who I am today, and I continue to evolve. I believe that there are lessons in every interaction with others and I work to stay open to new ideas
The first step, however, in learning to lead is to jump in and to start getting experience working with others. You have to learn how to organize people, tasks, and resources.