Five Signs That You’re Going to Remarkably Stand Out as a Leader
Think about the best boss you’ve ever had. Maybe you’re fortunate, and we’re talking about the person you call your boss today. Maybe it’s someone you recall fondly from years ago. Leadership comes in many shapes and sizes, its qualities are subtle. Here are five signs that show you’re not only a leader, but a remarkably good leader.
We think of leadership as a title that has to be deserved or earned.
But leaders are rarely, if ever, born. If we had to isolate a factor that creates leaders, it’s probably some combination of circumstance and persistence. The definition of a leader is not the same as the definition of a “boss”. In fact, many leadership attributes may even seem to oppose those of a boss. It is easy to spot a boss, as the only requirement is to have a title of manager or higher. Anyone can be “boss-like”; it is the simplest form of management. The toughest job is rising up to become a great leader with visionary purpose and humble respect.
Leadership, it turns out, is its own distinct set of skills — skills that can be cultivated and developed, just like any other.
To paraphrase the great Vince Lombardi, leaders aren’t born, they’re made. And it all starts with the right mindset. More than anything, leadership is just that — a state of mind. It’s the lens through which you see the world and the beliefs you bring to all your interactions with your team.
People follow leaders because they trust and respect their decisions.
And it’s not easy for a new person to win the trust of others. There are certain traits that are essential for good leaders. And I have seen many people who have what it takes to be a great leader. But they hadn’t discovered their potential yet. If you’ve ever wondered about your own leadership stature, and whether yours is earned or innate, look no further. We’ve rounded up all the surefire personality indicators that make for a natural-born leader.
So how do you know if you have the leader’s mindset? Here are the five signs that you have the right frame of mind to be the leader your team needs.
It can be difficult to know when you are ready to take the next step in your career and move into a leadership position. I have been lucky to have had the experience of working with good leaders. Leadership is the key to all success, so today I want to talk about the five signs that makes any leader stand out.
Leadership Sign #1: You Insist on Excellence
As Aristotle said, we are what we repeatedly do, and therefore excellence is not an act but a habit. When you are in the habit of standing up for excellence and you hold yourself and those around you responsible for quality, you are telling others that you act rather than talk, show rather than say, deliver rather than promise. If you are not making excuses or blaming others but holding up the standard of excellence and quality, you are a leader.
When you have been in a role for a while, it is natural — and, perhaps, expected — that you become an expert and more people begin to ask for your advice and input.
However, being viewed as a leader is slightly more nuanced than this. If you find that people often seek out your opinion, come to you for help and advice, see you as someone who can be relied on and count on you to stand up for them, then your colleagues see you as a leader. These are skills that are hugely valuable in a leader and if those around you recognize them in you, then it may well be time to take the next step.
Leadership is not about your position or the words you say, leadership is about your actions and your attitude.
A great leader leads through his actions and his attitude. He or she is the first partaker of the gospel that they preach. A great leader doesn’t sit on the sidelines; a great leader gets involved in the game. The basketball player Larry Bird said, “Leadership is diving for a loose ball, getting the crowd involved, getting other players involved. It’s being able to take it as well as dish it out. That’s the only way you’re going to get respect from the players.” When we build authority through serving and sacrificing for others, we earn credibility and the right to be called a leader. Influence can only be built by creating credibility, which is what aids a leader in becoming trusted by their team.
The most effective way leaders can promote excellence is to set the example of influence they are hoping to impart.
It is the actions we perform that others will watch and critique. Your team will notice if you are not living your values. If you are expecting excellence, you must also become excellent. It is much easier to influence the behavior of others and unlock their potential by being the model that you wish to see. While it is important that our leaders provide a clear example of behaviors to be followed, they should also set the expectation that perfection is not the ultimate goal.
Perfection implies there is no room for improvement; things can’t get any better or there is nothing more to be learned.
Personally, I encourage my teams to strive for excellence — not perfection. I define excellence as getting better each given opportunity. This builds a culture of learning and constant improvement. I believe this is more powerful than a pursuit of perfection. Take the time to discuss with your team areas where they can improve. Acknowledge the imperfections and learn from them. This will allow you to build a culture of excellence.
Leadership Sign #2: You Communicate Effectively
A leader defines the vision, goals, and plans for their team members. Being a skilled communicator is a huge advantage for someone who wants to be a great leader. Even someone who has vision and objectives can’t execute their plan unless they have good communication with their team members. So effective communication is essential for becoming a good leader.
Communication is at the core of effective leadership.
Keeping employees motivated and driven towards success should remain a top priority for any leader. But, in order to inspire and motivate in the first place, business leaders need to establish and foster a strong line of communication. If you want to influence and inspire your team, you need to practice empathy and transparency, and understand how others perceive you, through your verbal and non-verbal cues. To improve your communication skills and become a better leader, begin by assessing your effectiveness so you can identify areas for improvement. Then, set goals and hold yourself accountable by creating a leadership development plan to guide and track your progress.
Effective leadership demands interacting with people in a way that motivates and energizes them.
This requires communicating in a manner that goes beyond just relaying information. The most successful leaders inspire others, build connections between people, and create alignment throughout the organization. People in an organization look to the leaders for direction on how to behave. When leaders speak with confidence and optimism, it inspires those around them. On the other hand, when they are worried or unsure, the message becomes clouded. Clear communication is most critical in times of crisis or transition, but it’s important to maintain a consistent message and tone at all times. Learning how to communicate with conviction will help leaders inspire others to believe in the organizational vision.
Many people consider that the leader who speaks well is a better influencer.
But whoever is a good listener has more advantages. A study published by the Journal of Research in Personality demonstrated that participants who were good listeners were able to get more information about their interlocutors and thus collaborated on the process of building trust – a key to interpersonal relationships. Develop this ability by adopting some behaviors. Begin by not excluding or interrupting others, especially in the face of different points of view and learn to truly listen. When the other is speaking, pay attention to what is said, and to that end, avoid formulating and continuously asking questions or interrupting. Let the speaker finish his/ her reasoning and emphasize everything that is necessary.
Constructive feedback is a very tricky aspect of leadership that most managers struggle with.
In general, confrontation is uncomfortable and the easiest option is to avoid it at all costs. However, if done so properly, this will not only greatly benefit the progress of the company, but it will also shape the next generation of great future leaders. Confrontation should not be confrontational at all; rather, constructive feedback is the goal, while also providing a healthy balance of genuine positive feedback simultaneously. One of the qualities of a good leader is the ability to evaluate an individual objectively and offer critical but constructive feedback to help them improve and grow in their career path. Do you find yourself giving team members helpful advice on a regular basis? Do they appreciate it and find it helpful? If yes, give yourself a pat on the back and check this box.
Leadership Sign #3: You Shape The Future
Granted, the boss doesn’t always get to set the agenda, but a great one will advocate for something worthy, and ensure that he communicates it effectively and often. Leadership is about redefining things, finding new solutions and leading others to bigger and better things. Remarkably good leaders don’t stay in a single place and carry out their activities outside the box. Leadership is about bringing progress and provoking evolution, and none of this can be done from inside the margins of the status quo.
When a team has a common purpose, everyone pulls hard in the same direction.
As a leader, it helps you see who is all-in for the cause you are working towards and shows you that you have a capable team who knows what they are working towards. A great leader has a crystal clear vision of the one direction that the organization or team is heading in. They do not waver easily from this position and they do not try to do everything all at once. Instead, they are positive in encouraging others to join their great vision and very patient in the process. It is often a lofty and grand vision and one that includes an aspect greater than themselves.
A great leader paints a compelling vision that people want to follow.
But it doesn’t stop there; a great leader then provides the action steps necessary to ensure the vision becomes a reality. A great leader knows that nothing just happens. I like what Harry Truman said, he said, “Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” Good leaders are obsessed with timescale and the significance of their activities in the long run. If you’re keenly aware of the impact your actions of today will have on the future, you’re on the right track. You don’t sweat those actions that don’t create any future impact — like most emails.
Great leaders envision their goals, dreams and the future.
They acknowledge and appreciate an organization’s past, and then imagine the exciting possibilities for what it can become. We’ve all dreamed of things before. We’ve all envisioned — be it in our personal or professional lives. Maybe those visions were grand and lofty. Maybe they were a series of small and attainable baby steps to get where you wanted to go. Whether big or small, those things you envisioned were exciting and inspired you. They were things that you were passionate about — and people who are passionate are able to inspire. Visions also require work to become something attainable. A great leader realizes this, and in addition to providing an ideal image of what an organization can become, they are able to enlist the help of others to reach the dreams they envision.
Successful leaders enlist others to work as a unit to achieve their goals and dreams.
Be passionate about your visions for the workplace. If you don’t believe in your vision or the vision of your organization, and are not excited by them, you can’t expect others to be inspired and to believe in them either. Sometimes a company’s goals can seem far-fetched and daunting, but leadership that is confident and passionate can enable others to feel confident and passionate, too. Inspiring leaders can help people see why the vision is so important and understand how their individual contributions to that vision will have a meaningful impact.
leadership Sign #4: You Offer Advice & Counsel
Stepping out refers to a leader stepping into different roles required to help a team. It is a way that a leader displays a serving mindset. It allows leaders to show responsibility and care. A good leader is able to take a look around and see which needs are not being met enabling them to fill any required gaps in the team. It can be something small and simple such as realizing that no one is picking up the chairs after a meeting and beginning to do so.
Great leaders genuinely want to see others learn and rise up as far as they can and want to go, whether inside or outside of the organization or team.
They will provide any tools they have at their disposal to assist teammates as much as possible in the process. Great leaders are never intimidated by others’ rise to the top. They know that it is a valuable asset to have another great leader alongside them, especially one that they have combed along the way. The leader will often take the time out from the daily work routine to provide insights and assistance to others to encourage them to be the best they can be.
Your employees are only human beings, and so naturally they are going to experience a plethora of emotions throughout the day.
But what separates the born leaders from the ineffective bosses is whether you acknowledge your employees’ feelings and try to work through them. As Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, explained: “These little considerations for others have a building effect. The daily practice of putting the well-being of others first has a compounding and reciprocal effect in relationships, in friendships, [and] in the way we treat our clients and our colleagues.”
You will want to realize it’s not about the work you do, but rather it’s about the quality of the work that others around you do.
This means you’re not focused on building presentations, creating systems documentation or making sales calls. Instead, you’re focused on creating the best culture and environment for your people to thrive. You’re inspiring and setting a vision that rallies people to become the best version of themselves. You’re removing obstacles from your team so they can do in the most unobstructed manner possible. Great leaders focus less on doing and more on getting others to do their best.
Helping your team find their unique abilities is a top priority.
You realize one of your most important objectives is to help people find what energizes them the most, and then effectively aligning resources so they can spend most of their time doing those things (or more likely, that one thing). This will not only give your team the greatest gift you can give them — the opportunity to do what they were put on Earth to do — it will also have wide ranging impact on your organization. When people are focused on their unique abilities, and not wasting their precious energy on things they don’t like or aren’t good at, magic happens.
Leadership Sign #5: You Respect People’s Time
8. You treat people with respect. Knowledge may give you power, being smart may give you an advantage, but when you give respect you will always receive respect in return. If you look for the good in everyone you meet and respect them for who they are, it’s likely that they hold you in high esteem and that you are a leader.
A great leader respects all team members’ time (regardless of position level) and furthermore, will encourage time off to unwind and reboot.
Respecting other’s time is both necessary at work and outside of the office. Just as batteries will wear down when overused, people will become burnt out without taking the time to rest. Great leaders understand the importance of providing enough time for employees to explore other interests and talents outside of work, so that they can come back to the office and become a greater asset to the organization. The days of having “robotic” employees are over and technology has elevated business to breaking down the walls between home life and the office, as well as breaking down previous global barriers. Providing the opportunity to employees for taking the time to enrich themselves outside of their job responsibilities is the golden ticket to retaining the best talent and great leaders will be rewarded with the benefit of employees returning to work as an even greater asset than before.
To get respect, you’ve got to show respect. Without respect, leaders become tyrants.
Great leaders have to be respected in order to be successful, but earning that respect takes time and effort. When employees respect you, they are more likely to work harder to accomplish a shared goal they believe in. Respectful leaders are respected leaders. They become more resilient and better able to manage others during times of crisis. These leaders are able to find greater satisfaction and sense of confidence and composure in their work and in life. They become more capable of making a positive difference with others. Employees want to work hard for people that respect them. When they feel respected and valued, they’ll view management in a more positive light and be more than willing to put in the extra effort and go above and beyond when the time comes. Without respect, morale plunges. When employees feel disrespected and disconnected from management or the organization, their attitude towards work can change quickly.
In particular, everyone has different things on their plate and doesn’t want their time to be wasted.
No matter how busy you think you are compared to someone else, you never really know what’s going on. That’s why it’s important to always, no matter who it is or what you know about the person, to show respect for their time. You’d certainly want them to do the same for you. It’s so common for people to show up late to things, be it meetings, courses, etc., and expect it not to matter. This shows disrespect for your time and if you let people get away with this it shows disrespect for the people that actually show up in time.
When you are booking a meeting you should try to ‘compress time’ where you can.
Take whatever time you immediately think you’ll need for a meeting and cut that number in half for the booking period. So, instead of a one hour meeting, book it for thirty minutes. Meetings take the time you give to them, so limit that time. Maybe cut it in half if the usual meetings tend to feel slow, and you can increase productivity immensely. Like so many other obligations, meetings tend to fill the space you give to them. By compressing that time, you increase everyone’s productivity and implement a highly profitable system of time management. Showing respect for people’s time is vital for a productive and healthy workplace. When you respect other people’s time, they’ll respect yours.
Ultimately, strong leadership skills are not something that most people are born with, which is good news, since that means anyone can learn, grow, and implement what they are learning in real-time. Moving from an individual contributor to management can be a daunting prospect, but if these five points resonate with you then you probably have the mindset and skillset to be a successful and supportive leader.
A great leader will understand that just as an economy is made up of people within a country, a company is only as strong as the people who work within the organization.
Employees are the company’s important assets and a great leader encourages and provides the tools necessary for others to step up, without ever feeling threatened by this. When one knows very clearly what they stand for and why, one can guide a company with that very clear and unwavering vision. A great leader always knows that the pie is not fixed, but a limitless expansion of opportunities for everyone.
Are you excited to become a leader? Do you look forward to it in anticipation?
Are you ready to let go of your current role? Are you already considering your leadership philosophy? If so, then you may well be ready to take the leap. As with any role, you will never start a leadership role as the perfect leader, and it is wrong to think of it as an extension of your current role. Leaders require a whole new skill set, and those will be learnt over time. The important thing is to have the drive, commitment and passion to accept the lessons and develop into the best leader you can be.
Decide to become a great leader today. Many people are depending on you, don’t let them down.
Weigh yourself against these traits, reconsider what you think you know, and recognize yourself for the leader you may really be. What are the attributes that you have found in great leaders and what are some examples that you have encountered? Let me know in the comments below!
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.