Anyone can be a leader. Influence one person around you (for good or bad) and you’re there.
But only a few people have the true ‘gift’ of leadership. Just like any good player can play center on a basketball team, but only a few players are born seven feet tall. Are you a natural leader?
Here are some indicators that you may have a natural talent for leadership:
You don’t need to appeal to a higher authority to get people to do what you ask them to do
You know a person isn’t really a natural leader when ‘the boss’ has to periodically drop in and enforce their orders. When this happens, you know that the person in charge has a title but isn’t really the leader. True leaders speak with authority and people naturally follow them.
When you’re in a meeting, people direct their comments to you
I always know who the natural leader is in any group. It’s easy. Just watch who people look at when they’re talking. People naturally direct their comments to the leader, not to the person who only has a title.
You never make excuses for why things turned out as they did
Non leaders make excuses and cast blame on others when things don’t work out. These include things like:
- There was just too much going on to get to that, sorry
- My team really dropped the ball on that one
- Wow, is my assistant ever weak
- Our suppliers just keep on letting me down
- If only I had better leads, I could be a top salesperson
Leaders understand that at the end of the day, everything is their responsibility – not their fault, their responsibility. Leaders talk in terms of what they need to do differently, not how circumstances around them need to change.
When you’re dropped into a group of people with different views, they often end up seeing things your way
Leaders think differently than other people and don’t feel the need to compromise their own views to make others happy. They march to the beat of their own drum. Non leaders spend a lot of time thinking about how to make people like them, and how to never say anything to offend anybody.
You know you’ve got a leader on your hands when they take action without having to be hounded.
- Make the first move to mend broken relationships
- Respond quickly to inquiries
- See potential problems and head them off at the pass before they grow bigger
- Lean into, not away from, conflict
- Naturally reach out to strong people to bring them on their team
- Figure out where the team needs to go without having to be asked
They have a bias towards action, not reaction.
My teenager asked recently, “If leadership involves so many headaches, why should I want to be one?”
The answer to that isn’t about making more money (you will) or enjoying being at the head of the dogsled team (you’ll like that too if you’re wired that way), but about contributing to the lives of others.
Leadership is a sacrifice. To go up, you have to give up. But our world is in desperate need of leaders, today more than ever.
So, if you have these natural qualities, don’t hide them away. Let them shine and develop them so we can all live in a better world!
Trevor Throness is a speaker, consultant, and author of “The Power of People Skills.” He is also co-founder and senior instructor at www.professionalleadershipinstitute.com https://www.professionalleadershipinstitute.com/
Find more about “The Power of People Skills” here: https://www.amazon.com/Power-People-Skills-Dramatically-Performance/dp/1632651068