It is widely established that leaders must be competent at what they do. Needless to say, intelligence, along with good communication and management skills are cardinal requirements for directing in any capacity, but without moral soundness and sincerity, these abilities are for naught! To me, integrity -- along with passion and commitment -- is what determines a true leader.
Leadership is not a concept that exclusively applies to offices and organizations. Every human being is leading a life, a life full of immense potential and a unique promise for the world. As Mahatma Gandhi underscores, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
Therefore, I believe that it is a lot easier to fight for principles than to live up to them. We must strive to live the ideals we advocate. Individual leadership is something every living person is undertaking by default, and striving to do it the best way we can is a challenge everyone should wholeheartedly embrace.
Moreover, having a vision combined with infectious enthusiasm and belief in your work are also important components of leadership that can motivate others to join your cause.
To lead through the influence of credibility and genuine concern is what I want to do. My hero, Nelson Mandela, for example, changed the world through his influence (and official power came to him their influence.) I believe that true leaders are committed to serving others.
Furthermore, empathy and thoughtfulness are vital components of strong leadership. I continually try to empathize with the struggles of people I encounter and to be considerate and compassionate to the needs of people around me.
Being in a position of leadership demands that you are thick-skinned, for leaders are often sabotaged by rivals or ideological opponents. Leadership entails persevering in the face of adversity and taking hard decisions. Yet, one must remember to have humility and not get conceited. It is a fine balance that must be struck for effectively leading anything; be it your personal life or your organization.
I seek to embody not only the aforementioned traits but I also aspire to proactively inspire others around me to do and to be something more. I am impressed and inspired by the likes of Abraham Lincoln and Oprah Winfrey, who rose against all odds and pursued their calling with exemplary zeal, making the world a better place. I also look up to people like Mona Eltahawy, who showed the fearless face of courage in threatening circumstances.
The G(irls)20 Summit, where I will be representing Pakistan this year, is committed to producing and polishing future female leaders. Here is to hoping that the 23 other delegates and I emerge from the Summit as better leaders -- in our lives, our communities and in the world beyond.
By Seerat Zahra, 2014 G(irls)20 Summit Delegate, representing Pakistan
ALSO ON HUFFPOST: