How to Easily Spot Leadership Qualities in Others

Something I’m often asked is how you can spot someone with leadership potential. In my decades of leadership coaching, where I’ve worked with people from top corporate leaders to those just beginning to aspire to leadership, I’ve found there are certain qualities that get people noticed and attract others to their point of view. They don’t necessarily mean that person will become a great leader, but they indicate the potential is there.

These leadership traits are all fairly easy to spot, even from a distance. Here are the most important:

High performance. Potential leaders consistently go above and beyond, whether they’re delivering specific results or working to move an organization forward. And they do it quietly and unobtrusively, in a manner that doesn’t suggest that they’re marketing themselves. It’s clear to all that they’re working primarily for the good of their team and organization.

High potential. Potential leaders don’t stop at doing what they have to do—they’re constantly seeking out new responsibilities and learning new skills. They’re the ones who are always asking “How can I help?” and helping find the answers to everyone’s questions.

High influence. You know the people you seek out instinctively to see what they think or how they would handle something? Those are people with influence, people marked for leadership. They may be anywhere within an organization—across, down or up from you—but their personality makes you feel safe in going to them and reassures you that they’ll be there for you.

High values. People with high values are easy to spot, especially when a difficult situation arises. They unthinkingly do what is right, not what is easy, and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to find a solution with integrity. Their values hold them to a cause greater than themselves, and that connection is visible in everything they do.

High optimism. Even in great organizations, it’s easy for pessimism and fatalism to flourish in the ranks. So when you find someone who views everything through a positive lens and is constantly striving to bring about the better future they envision, you know that person has great leadership qualities—especially if their positivity and resiliency are contagious.

If you’re looking for a rising leader in your organization, look for someone who’s working to make a difference with their performance, their potential, their influence, their values and their optimism. And if you want to be a known as a leader, work to cultivate those qualities within yourself.

Lead from within: If you want to spot a leader easily, don’t look for someone who’s telling you what to do. Instead, look for someone who’s showing you how it can be done, inspiring all the way.


#1  N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R

The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

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