Whether you dream of being the leader of a family, a church or spiritual group, a community group or a corporation, there are certain qualities that leaders share. These qualities are almost always apparent to others while they may not be apparent to the person who possesses them.
Many leadership qualities can be consciously developed, so if you are just starting out in your career or family, it helps to learn to recognize these traits in others and learn to develop them in yourself. I recently read an article on businessinsider.com entitled Nine Signs That People See You as A Great Leader. I agree with the signs and I offer an edited view of the leadership traits.
Recognizable Leadership Qualities
- Everyone seeks out your opinion
When others seek your opinion, whatever your position in a company or community, this is probably the most obvious sign that others view you as a leader.
- You’re a good communicator
People won’t think you’re a great leader just because you’ve got good ideas. You’ve got to be able to communicate those ideas too.
- Your boss ignores you sometimes
Having your supervisor “neglect” you sometimes might not be the best feeling in the world, but it’s probably a pretty good sign. Sometimes, bosses want to see how proactive and self-starting their future leaders are. Those who need less care and feeding may have the edge over those who need constant reinforcement and direction to be productive.
- You never scramble to take the lead
According to the article, “Real leaders only take the helm when it’s necessary.”
Apparently this trait has been traced back to one of the heroes of ancient Rome. A general named Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was called to serve the state as dictator during an invasion (in those days, “dictators” were appointed during military emergencies and held full authority for six months). He was so competent that he routed the invasion in a matter of weeks. Afterwards, instead of taking advantage of his term, he resigned, went back to his small farm, and became a legend in his own lifetime. People generally prefer selfless leaders like Cincinnatus to ambitious, grasping ones like Caesar.
- You help people grow
Whenever someone messes up, you’re the first one on the scene helping out. Coworkers seek you out for help and your boss frequently asks you to mentor others.
- You’re firm, but not close-minded
If you stand up for your own ideas, but fairly weigh every option before proceeding, then odds are your coworkers consider you an effective leader.
- People come to you for advice
If people are coming to you, they either figured out you excel at something, or they were sent to you as a knowledgeable resource. If people are actually soliciting your insight at work, that’s a clear sign they respect your judgment. They’re looking to you for guidance. Think about it this way. Who do you turn to when you need advice? Some random colleague whose work you don’t respect? Or someone you aspire to become more like?
- You always do your homework
A good leader doesn’t have to give amazing speeches or even have a ton of charisma. People will perceive you as a promising leader if you have insightful solutions and prepare well for workplace projects. Instead of trying to wow others with fake charisma, focus on being the best you can be at your job.
- You’re confident, but not arrogant
No one wants to take orders from an arrogant leader. Confident people know their strengths and work on their weaknesses. They trust in their own competence and work hard. People are usually happy to follow confident, competent individuals.