It’s not news that the idea of leadership is skewed towards the people who have titles and hold positions of power. When we were children our “leaders” were student council president, class president, team captain, and the like. As adults, leaders are assumed to be those with the titles – CEO, manager, or president.
Maybe you’ve never thought about yourself as a leader or you hold a managerial role, but you don’t feel like a “leader”. Leadership is not just for those who are loud, outspoken, “bred to lead,” cut throat, extroverts, etc. It’s a role we all can play if you use John Quincy Adams definition of leadership:
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”
I bet if you take a look at the list below, you actually do a lot of things that make you a leader.
You Think About How Your Words and Actions Will Impact Those Around You
In other words, you are self-aware. Knowing what to say and when to say it is something not all people are able to do. Congratulations.
You are Focused on Helping Others (Not Just Making Money)
Some people will say and do anything to make a buck – even take on traditional leadership positions when they have no intentions of helping others. But not you. You are less concerned about having a title and more concerned about helping others. Whether it’s your kid’s school, your friends or your co-workers, you are always looking for ways to help.
People Describe You as a “Great Listener”
You listen, not just to respond or give advice, but to truly understand and empathize with the person talking with you. Period.
You are Good at Finding Creative Solutions to Problems
All those times you weren’t talking or attempting total world domination were spent solving real problems. One way to know you exhibit this quality is if team members often say, “I’d like to run something by you.” Or “I’m stuck and I need your help.” You don’t shy away from problems because you know helping solve them will help others.
You are Comfortable Saying, “No”
Saying “no” is about prioritizing what’s important. It’s a great sign that you are good at leading yourself if you’re able to say “no” to things and people when you feel it is appropriate. Whether it’s “no” to running an extracurricular activity, or “no” to an plan you believe will not move your team forward, it’s important to be able to say “no” and have reasons to back it up.
You Are Competitive
This is not to be confused with athletic. Competitive people not only want to win, but they enjoy the experience of competition. Maybe you really love to kick butt at your 10,000 step challenge or you have friendly competitions with your coworkers. If you desire a “win” and keep striving until finish line (even if odds are bleak) you’ve got leadership capabilities. Let me warn you though, this is only if you are a good sport. No sore losers, cheaters, or rule manipulators need apply.
You “Get Stuff Done”
Without the ability to get stuff done, you aren’t really leading. There’s nothing worse than the drifter or the “idea” guy. A quality of a great leader is their ability to get stuff done that moves the entire team towards their goal.
The challenge now, more than ever, is that the world needs more leaders. People like you, and me, who may not have thought of ourselves as “leaders” in the traditional sense, need to consider the position as our responsibility to create a better world for us all. I hope this list has proven that you have it within you to lead. Make 2017 your year to inspire and lead others.
One Way to Get a Head Start: Sign up for a subscription to LearnLoft, an on-demand learning platform focused on creating leaders worth following. You will have access to Programs and Courses that will help you no matter where you are on your leadership journey. For example, if you’ve never led, but are now considering going out for a promotion, the Getting Leadership Ready Program is a great place to start. All the programs have a community of coaches, leaders, people just like you to run challenges by or get/give advice. Learn More.