Have you come across a book or article on leadership lately? Somehow, they all claim to have the key to effective leadership or to unlocking your leadership potential. Given the amount of information available, do you wonder what works? Are leaders born or are they made?
There are certain signs and traits of a natural leader. While a lot of what makes someone a natural leader lies in his or her personality, some practices can be learned. Have you got what it takes to leap into leadership or did you have it in you all along? To help with your self-assessment, here’s a list of key qualities a natural leader should have and emphasise on.
You inspire others to achieve
Your leadership style is all about empowering people and when you speak about the “bigger picture”, it is always with passion and positivity. To inspire others, you understand the need to be clear about your goals and keep the business purpose-driven. As a leader, you are able to cultivate a culture where innovation can flourish.
You have resilience
The mark of a natural leader is not in how he/she handles the wins but how he/she approaches failure. Your focus is on the solution and not the problem. You are daring enough to take chances because you recognise the opportunity to learn from failures.
You give credit where credit is due
How do you show your team/customers that you value them? By acknowledging their contributions. No one is likely to favour a leader who takes credit for someone else’s work or overlooks the contribution of a team member. You know better. You understand how to and why it is important to give recognition when it is due and to do so in a timely manner.
You take the lead (when you have to)
Leading is not micromanaging. Your enthusiasm for taking the lead includes cultivating potential, creating room for ideas, execution and results. As a leader, you are confident in the capabilities of your team members. You are able to assess each situation and decide when to step in and when to stay back.
You enjoy being in charge and motivating people
Being the boss is one thing, being bossy is another story altogether. It has been said that natural leaders enjoy taking charge of a project or group activity, but, the role doesn’t end there. You are also passionate about bringing people together and motivating them to do what they do best and continuously strive to do better.
You listen and communicate effectively
Do you listen just to reply or do you try to understand first? A natural leader knows the importance of listening to team members and customers alike. It’s about giving the other person your undivided attention and absorbing what is being said before formulating a reply. As a leader, you are able to convey messages and instructions clearly. You also understand the importance of developing healthy lines of communications and having empathy.
You have character
A strong sense of character can make or break a person. A leader values and upholds honesty, accountability and integrity above everything else. These are not just qualities you possess, you value and seek them out in others. You practice these characteristics in the way you run your team and business.
You know when to ask for help
Making efficient decisions requires knowing when to ask for help. As a leader, you have a realistic view of your capabilities and you know when to ask for the assistance of others. On top of that, you are a quick thinker when it comes to finding solutions.
John Maxwell once said, “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” Did you relate to any of the signs we mentioned? What personality traits do you look for in a leader? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.