Strong leaders emerge in different ways and at different times. Some people seem born to leadership, and others build their abilities more slowly. Some have the capacity but need their confidence to develop before they can make best the best use of it. Others don’t step into their leadership until the circumstances call for it—usually in difficult times.
But in any group of people there will be a few who show leadership qualities, even if they’re not fully developed. Here are some things to look for if you want to know who’s capable of being a strong leader:
They share their expertise. Those who are supportive of others, those who guide and mentor and are quick to share their expertise are showing key leadership traits. Their attention inspires others to care about what they do, and they’re committed to helping others be their best.
They are trust builders. People build trust in lots of different ways. Many prospective leaders do so by being competent and reliable in their job. That dependability is the foundation for them to build strong relationships with the people they work with at every level, from their bosses to their peers to support staff. They show integrity, focus on solving problems instead of placing blame, and when things go well they share the credit.
They are an influence for good in challenging times. People’s true natures tend to emerge when difficulties arise. Some complain or make sure their own interests are served. But those who are empathetic, realistic and proactive—and especially those who look for patterns of recurring challenges and seek ways to solve them—are likely to emerge as true leaders.
They are emotionally agile. The best leaders know how to manage their emotions and are agile enough to let go of any thoughts, beliefs or emotions that aren’t serving them well. Anyone with that ability has already mastered one of the most challenging components of leadership.
They are great listeners. Leadership is based on connection, and connection is based on listening. Good listeners—those who seek to understand by asking clarifying questions and by giving their complete attention—have the foundation to make good leaders.
They don’t wait to be asked. In almost every group there will be few people with no official authority who are quick to step up with support and guidance. Generally it’s the ones who are already excellent at their job, and their combination of helpfulness, initiative, competence and confidence makes them strong contenders for leadership roles.
You can’t always predict leadership potential, but those who exhibit these positive traits are likely to be effective leaders. Recognize them for who they are, and give them as many opportunities as possible to grow into their potential.
Lead from within: We sometimes look at leadership in a superficial way. In reality, the person who cares the most is the one who will stand out from a crowd of prospective leaders.
#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.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
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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, Inc.com, 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.