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25 Signs You Have The Potential To Be A Great Leader

25 Signs You Have The Potential To Be A Great Leader

It’s not exactly easy being head honcho – decisions have to be made, people have to be swayed, and the pressure’s on to achieve success at the end of the day. If you’re a leader, what will you ultimately be remembered for? You can be the good boss, the one who gets along with everyone and may be a bit of a pushover. Or you can be the stern boss that demands high standards for success, possibly being respected but also despised. But what does it really take to be an iconic, memorable, all around great leader? Listed below are 25 characteristics that you may possess to be regarded as a great leader.

1. You’re persuasive

This is one of the most essential characteristics – you have a knack for persuading others. Whether to get someone on board with an idea or if you’re skilled at conveying an argument, every leader is known for their ability to compel others.

2. You inspire those around you

A great leader doesn’t only maintain focus on themselves – they work to teach, motivate, and share their expertise with those around them. Others often regard you as a fountain of knowledge, as a means to learn something. They rely on your experience and your advice, and you’re more than willing to help.

3. You stay composed under pressure

Similar to the last point, you’re able to keep a cool mind at all times. When the going gets tough, you don’t let it get to you – you face adversity head on.

4. You trust in yourself

Trust in yourself and it will build the trust of those around you. You believe in yourself to come through in the clutch moments, and have a stream of confidence backing your every move.

5. You’re persistent

You’re always determined to get what you want. While you understand that it can’t always be the case, you exhaust every resource and every ounce of effort you have left before admitting defeat.

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6. You exercise effective decision making 

No great leader has ever been known to be indecisive. When a daunting decision comes your way, you know how to employ good judgement, make that decision in a timely manner and be sure about it. You’re logical, and a quick problem solver. Assertiveness is also key, which leads to the next point…

7. You stick by your word

You understand that if other’s see you as too flexible, they’ll walk all over you. You don’t bend to the objections of others – rather, you hold your ground whenever confronted and stand by whatever decisions you’ve made.

8. You’re self-disciplined

You practice self control and self-restraint. You don’t let emotions factor into your decision making. You don’t let desires or negative thoughts like greed carry you away. You don’t give into temptations easily and you’re strict with yourself. Subsequently, you understand that your success depends on it.

9. You always have a plan

Everyone comes to you in a time of need. You’re an effective strategist, and always have an idea or solution. You embrace everyday challenges as well as your ability to overcome them with your problem-solving.

10. You’re goal-oriented

You’re not happy unless you’re working to accomplish something. In fact, your mentality requires that you constantly work to achieve a plethora of goals in your personal life as well as your work life, whether you’re learning a new instrument or improving your health. Your confidence grows with each and every goal you happen to achieve and you feed that fire.

11. You constantly work to improve yourself

In respect to the previous point, you make it a lifelong mission to perpetually improve yourself in any way, shape or form. No one is perfect, and you understand that. However, you make it a priority to let others know that you’re constantly working towards being the best that you can be. And even though you’re not perfect…

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12. You are a perfectionist 

You don’t half-ass it when it comes to getting the job done. You exemplify at every instance, and understand that the beauty of everything lies in the details of your work. You go above an beyond, setting higher and higher standards for yourself and for others.

13. You’re open-minded

You frequently take the initiative to view matters through the perspective of others. This allows you to make sound decisions, to comprehensively evaluate any scenario. Others feel comfortable presenting ideas to you or conveying their thoughts because they know that you withhold judgement and are exceptionally reasonable.

14. You’re compassionate

No good leader is careless in their regard for others. You understand where others are coming from and demonstrate genuine empathy when a burdensome event crosses their path. You often seek to help, are a good listener, and you pour your half-full glass into their half-empty glass.

15. You’re charismatic

Most notable in cult leaders, this characteristic flows into any form of leadership. You have a surge of energy constantly flowing through you that infects others and gets them on board. Your enthusiastic approach to any issue reflects your genuine desire in life – your spark.

16. You’re virtuous

What cult leaders and dictators have in charisma, they lack in genuine virtue. You’re the good guy or gal that exercises every form of virtue known to man: courage, honesty, morality, righteousness. Your sincere display of these qualities quickly lets others know that you always have good intention and are one to respect.

17. You know how to read others

You’re socially aware – you can tell if others are lying to you or misleading you. You know how to read emotions, how to effectively judge a book by its cover. You constantly make an effort to learn about how those around you work, and to comprehend tendencies and understand behaviors.

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18. You can handle criticism

In fact, you need it every now and then. You thrive on the feedback of others. Whether or not you adopt it is your call, but you definitely do not let it eat at you. If anything, it motivates you.

19. You’re humble

You joke more about yourself than you do about others. You admit your faults and embrace your mistakes and in turn, learn from them. You understand that your needs are not more important than those of others.

20. You’re optimistic

No great leader came to be a success with a pessimistic attitude – pragmatic, maybe, but not entirely negative. You have far-seeing aspirations that carry you towards attaining your goals and you can often employ a positive outlook on a negative circumstance.

21. You’re creative

You think far outside the box, as you approach problems with your own original thought. You’re an idea person, a visionary. You seek to innovate rather than work under the status quo.

22. You’re self-reliant

You don’t need others to supervise your work or to validate your efforts. You act on your own initiative and rely on your own instinct. You criticize yourself before others may get the chance. You have all the tools you need to make sure you’re successful and you don’t frequently look to others to get you where you want to go.

23. You know when to admit defeat

A great leader shouldn’t lose too often, but when they do, they accept it. It may sting, but you understand that it’s just part of the process and that, try as you might, you can’t win ’em all. In other words, you’re not a sore loser.

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24. You’re willing to be accountable for the actions of others

When someone has to bite the bullet, you step up. You throw yourself over the grenade. War-themed sayings have been invented to effectively describe accountability. It’s an explosive thing, and you know how to handle it.

25. You’re likable

And lastly, people just seem to like you, and that’s likely due to the fact that you possess many of the aforementioned characteristics. You find that, because of who you are, you’re well-respected and admired by others.

If you find that you possess a majority of these characteristics, then all signs point to your potential to one day become a great leader. Remember that working on yourself is only half the battle, and that those around you matter more towards your subsequent success.

“Power isn’t control at all — power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.” – Beth Revis

More by this author

Michael Woronko

Michael shares about tips on self-development and happiness on Lifehack.

What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People The Power of Self-Reflection: 10 Questions You Should Ask Yourself 4 Ways To Psychologically Manipulate Someone Why Experiencing Failure Is Necessary Before Becoming Successful Addiction To Selfies: A Mental Disorder?

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Published on November 12, 2020

5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

What’s the most draining, miserable job you’ve ever had? Maybe you had a supervisor with unrealistic demands about your work output and schedule. Or perhaps, you worked under a bullying boss who frequently lost his temper with you and your colleagues, creating a toxic work environment.

Chances are, though, your terrible job experience was more all-encompassing than a negative experience with just one person. That’s because, in general, toxicity at work breeds an entire culture. Research shows abusive behavior by leaders can and often quickly spread through an entire organization.[1]

Unfortunately, working in a toxic environment doesn’t just make it miserable to show up to the office (or a Zoom meeting). This type of culture can have lasting negative effects, taking a toll on mental and physical health and even affecting workers’ personal lives and relationships.[2]

While it’s often all-encompassing, toxic culture isn’t always as blatant or clear-cut as abuse. Some of the evidence is more subtle—but it still warrants concern and action.

Have a feeling that your workplace is a toxic environment? Here are 5 surefire signs to look for.

1. People Often Say (or Imply) “That’s Not My Job”

When I first launched my company, I had a very small team. And back then, we all wore a lot of hats, simply because we had to. My colleagues and I worked tirelessly together to build, troubleshoot, and market our product, and nobody complained (at least most of the time).

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Because we were all in it together, with the same shared vision in mind, cooperation mattered so much more than job titles. Unfortunately, it’s not always that way.

In some workplaces, people adhere to their job descriptions to a fault:

  • Need help with an accounting problem? Sorry, that’s not my job.
  • Oh, you spilled your coffee in the break room? Too bad, I’m working.
  • Can’t figure out the new software? Ask IT.

While everyone has their own skillset—and time is often at a premium—cooperation is important in any workplace. An “it’s not my job” attitude is a sign of a toxic environment because it’s inherently selfish. It implies “I only care about me and what I have to get done” and that people aren’t concerned about the collective good or overall vision.[3] That type of perspective is not only bound to drain individual relationships; it also drains overall morale and productivity.

2. There’s a Lack of Diversity

Diversity is a vital part of a healthy work environment. We need the opinions and ideas of people who don’t see the world like us to move ahead. So, when leaders don’t prioritize diversity—or worse, they actively avoid it—I’m always suspicious about their character and values.

Limiting your workforce to one type of person is bound to prevent organizations from growing healthily. But even if your work environment is diverse in general, the management might prevent diverse individuals from rising to leadership positions, which only misses the point of having a diverse work environment in the first place.

Look around you. Who’s in leadership at your company? Who gets promotions and rewards most often? If the same type of people gets ahead while other individuals consistently get left behind, you might be working in a toxic environment.

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However it manifests in your workplace, keep in mind that a lack of diversity is a tell-tale sign that “bias is rampant and the wrong things are valued.”[4]

3. Feedback Isn’t Allowed

Just as individual growth hinges on being open to criticism, an organization’s well-being depends on workers’ ability to air their concerns and ideas. If management actively stifles feedback from employees, you’re probably working in a toxic environment.

But that definitely doesn’t mean nobody will air their feelings. One of the telltale signs of toxic leadership is when employees vent on the sidelines, out of management’s earshot. When I worked in a toxic environment, coworkers would often complain about higher-ups and company policies during work in private chats or after work hours.

It’s normal to get frustrated at work. That’s just a part of having a job. What isn’t normal is when dissent isn’t a part of or discouraged in the workplace. A workplace culture that suppresses constructive feedback will not be successful in the long run. It’s a sign that leadership isn’t open to new ideas, and that they’re more concerned about their own well-being than the health of the organization as a whole.

4. Quantifiable Measures Take Priority

Sales numbers, timelines, bottom lines—these metrics are, of course, important signs of how things are going in any business. But great leaders know that true success isn’t always measurable or quantifiable. More meaningful factors like workplace satisfaction, teamwork, and personal growth all contribute to and sustain these metrics.

Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, and they shouldn’t be the only concern. Measure-taking should always take a backseat to meaning-making—working together to contribute to a vision that improves people’s lives. If your workplace zones in on quantifiable measures of success, it’s probably not prioritizing what truly matters. And it’s probably also instilling a fear of failure among employees, which paralyzes employees instead of motivating them.

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5. The Policies and Rules Are Inconsistent

Every organization has its own set of unique policies and procedures. But often, unhealthy workplaces have inconsistent, unspoken “rules” that apply differently to different people. When one person gets in trouble for the same type of behavior that promotes another person, workers will feel like management plays favorites—which isn’t just unethical but also a quick way to drain morale and fuel tension in the office.[5] It only shows how incompetent the leadership is and indicates a toxic workplace.

For example, maybe there’s no “set” rule about work hours, but your manager expects certain people or departments to show up at 8 am while other individuals tend to roll in at 9 or 10 am with no real consequences. If that’s the case, then it’s likely that your organization’s leadership is more concerned with controlling people and exerting power rather than the overall good of their employees.

How to Deal With a Toxic Work Environment

The first thing to know if you’re stuck in a toxic work environment is that you’re not stuck. While it’s ultimately the company’s responsibility to make positive changes that prevent harmful actions to employees, you also have an opportunity to speak up about your concerns—or, if necessary, depart the role altogether.

If you suspect that you’re working in a toxic environment, think about how you can advocate for yourself. Start by raising your grievances about the culture in an appropriate setting, like a scheduled, one-on-one meeting with your supervisor.

Can’t imagine sitting down with your supervisor to air those problems on your own? Form some solidarity with like-minded colleagues. Approaching management might feel less overwhelming when you have a “team” who shares your views.

It doesn’t have to be an overtly confrontational discussion. Do your best to frame your concerns in a positive way by sharing with your supervisor that you want to be more productive at work, but certain problems sometimes get in the way.

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Final Thoughts

If your supervisor truly cares about the well-being of the organization, they will take your concerns seriously and actively take part in changing the toxic work environment into something more conducive to productivity.

If not, then it might be time to consider the cost of the job on your well-being and personal life. Is it worth staying just for your resume’s sake? Or could you consider a “bridge” job that allows you to exhale for a bit, even if it doesn’t “move you ahead” the way you planned?

It might not be the ideal situation, but your mental health and well-being are too important to ignore. And when you have the opportunity to refuel, you’ll be a far more valuable asset at whatever amazing job you land next.

More Tips on Dealing With a Toxic Work Environment

Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

Reference

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