We often feel that to be a leader you need to be born a leader, or be drawn to leadership. We think of leadership as a title that has to be earned. Signs of leadership need to be developed and nurtured. Leaders are rarely if ever, born that way. If we had to isolate a factor that creates leaders, it’s some combination of circumstance and persistence.
Signs Of Leadership That Define A Great Leader
1. You genuinely care about other people
If you spend time supporting, guiding, and sharing your knowledge with people around you, giving them the opportunity to achieve success, and if you care about their well-being and do all you can to help them achieve their goals, you are a leader. Empathy is the ability to think outside of yourself and to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
2. You have an open mind
If people are attracted to you because you are open to other people’s opinions, you are a leader.
3. People count on you
If people count on you, they trust you to follow through and deliver on your promises. If you hold yourself accountable and demonstrate the kind of day-to-day responsibility that leads others to trust you, you are a leader.
4. You’re a great communicator
Being able to set clear expectations and goals that everyone can get behind is essential to be an effective leader. Good communication means simultaneously setting expectations for the short term but also communicating the precise longer-term vision for the organization that gets people excited to come to work each day.
Poor communication can halt any kind of progress. Everything should be clearly stated and without any grey-areas: your expectations, tasks that require the most attention, and plans of attack.
5. You lead by example
The best leaders model the behaviors and attitudes they expect from others. Don’t simply talk about the kind of culture or environment you want to create, but actually live out these principles on a daily basis. One of the greatest signs of leadership is to lead by example. Your team members will naturally align with the tone that you set.
6. You empower others to succeed
The best leaders will fight, sacrifice, advocate, and seek out the resources their employees need to feel empowered and be truly successful. Rather than micromanage every task or employee, a great leader acts as a support system and provides their team with an environment they need to work independently.
7. You offer advice and counsel
If you find yourself advising your colleagues, and your friends ask you for advice. If you often help those around you navigate through their rough patches, you are a leader.
You may think that, as a leader, you need to create a distance between yourself and others, but that’s wrong. Don’t be afraid to create connections with those around you.
8. You demand excellence
When you are in the habit of standing up for excellence and you hold yourself and those around you accountable for quality, you are telling others that you act rather than just talk, show rather than say, deliver rather than just promise. If you don’t make excuses or blame others and are holding up the standard of excellence and quality, you are a leader.
9. You are not afraid to take risks
Making leadership decisions requires taking risks. Great leaders are comfortable making quick decisions in times of tumultuous times, knowing and accepting the inevitable risks.
10. You know how to give feedback that makes a difference
Criticism and negative feedback are often counterproductive if they are given in a way that belittles. A way that inspires better performance, more loyalty, more enthusiasm, and overall learning or growth is required to be a great leader. Know how and when to give both positive and negative (or constructive) feedback that leads to better outcomes, not hurt feelings or wounded egos.