Chances are, you know someone you’d consider a “natural leader.” This person may have charismatic talent and lead their team with what, to outsiders, seems like little to no effort. It may even seem like they must have come out of the womb as a leader!
For years, people have debated whether leaders are born or made. The good news? Research shows that leaders are mostly made—which means that your chances of success are just as good as that “natural leader’s.” In fact, you may already possess some of the most important leadership qualities without even knowing it! Let’s take a look at what makes a good leader.
Leaders Listen and Offer Advice
If you find yourself the trusted advisor or coach for peers and friends, you’re already on the path to being a leader. When those around you seek your help to get through tough times and personal rough patches, it’s a sign that the direction you offer is valuable to them.
Leaders Lead By Example
Beyond simply coming to you for advice, it’s worth noting when others follow your example. If people look to you, unasked, to understand what they should be doing, it means you have the skill to lead them without argument or persuasion.
Leaders Are Curious
Curiosity is an ideal leadership trait because it ensures that a leader is always on the cutting-edge. A love of learning can get you far both in your personal life and within your organization, so if you find yourself constantly hunting for new knowledge, it’s a great sign.
In times of turbulence and chaos, it’s easy for most people to grow fearful and uncertain. Good leaders have a way of cutting through that uncertainty to point people toward a broader vision. By offering inspiration that resonates with those around them, leaders can inspire better performance and more focus.
Leaders Empower Others
True leadership isn’t about shouting orders from the top. It’s about offering others a hand up to grow and improve, which in turn makes outcomes better for the group as a whole. Good leaders should identify what employees need, advocate on their behalf for resources and opportunities, and help develop their talents to empower them for the long-term.
Leaders Take Risks
The very nature of leadership means that leaders must take risks. That means being comfortable making quick decisions, weighing multiple sides of a problem, preparing for different outcomes, and even being accountable when things go wrong.
Whether you’re considering moving into a leadership position or you’re already running a team of your own, the qualities above are the ones that the best leaders share. And if you feel like you’re lacking in one or more of these qualities, it’s not the end: it just means you’ll need to take time to develop your skills!