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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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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

Turning 50 is a milestone in anyone’s life, after all you are half way to 100! But seriously, turning 50 is often a time in life when people can sit back and take a look at where they’ve been and contemplate what the future holds.

Can you change careers at 50? It’s not uncommon for people in their 50’s to consider a career change, after all if you’ve spent 20 to 30 years in a career, chances are that some of the bloom is off the rose.

Often, when we are starting out in our 20’s, we choose a career path based on factors that are no longer relevant to us in our 50’s. Things like our parents’ expectations, a fast paced exciting lifestyle or the lure of making a lot of money can all be motivating factors in our 20’s.

But in our 50’s, those have given way to other priorities. Things like the desire to spend more time with family and friends, a slower paced less stressful lifestyle, the need to care for a sick spouse or elderly parents can all contribute to wanting a career change in your 50’s.

Just like any big life changing event, changing careers is scary. The good news is that just like most things we are scared of, the fear is mostly in our own head.

Understanding how to go about a career change at 50 and what you can expect should help reduce the anxiety and fear of the unknown.

What are Your Goals for a Career Change?

As in any endeavor, having properly defined goals will help you to determine the best path to take.

What are you looking for in a new career? Choosing a slower less stressful position that gives you more time with family and friends may sound ideal, but you’ll often find that you’re giving up some income and job satisfaction in the process.

Conversely, if your goal is to quit a job that is sucking the life from your soul to pursue a lifelong passion. You might be trading quality time with family and friends for job satisfaction.

Neither decision is wrong or bad, you just need to be aware of the potential pitfalls of any decision you make.

Types of Career Changes at 50+

There are four main types of career changes that people make in their 50’s. Each type has it’s unique set of challenges and will very in the degree of preparation required to make the change.

Industry Career Change

In this career change, a person remains in the same field but switches industries.

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With an industry change, a person takes their set of skills and applies them to an industry that they have no previous experience in.

An example would be a salesperson in the oil and gas industry becoming a salesperson for a media (advertising) company. They are taking their skill set (selling) and applying it to a different industry (media).

This type of career change is best accomplished by doing a lot of homework on the industry you want to get into as well as networking within the industry.

Functional Career Change

A functional career change would be a change of careers within the same industry.

For example, an accountant at a pharmaceutical company who changes careers to become a human resources manager. It may or may not be with the same company, but they remain within the pharmaceutical industry. In this case, they are leaving one set of skills behind (accounting) to develop a new set (human resource) within the same industry.

In a functional career change, new or additional training as well as certifications may be required in order to make the switch. If you are considering a functional career change, you can start by getting any training or certifications needed either online, through trade associations or at your local community college.

Double Career Change

This is the most challenging career change of all. A person doing a double career change is switching both a career and an industry.

An example of a double change would be an airline pilot quitting to pursue their dream of producing rock music. In that case, they are leaving both the aviation industry and a specific skill set (piloting) for a completely unrelated industry and career.

When considering a double career change, start preparing by getting any needed training or certifications first. Then you can get your foot in the door by taking an apprenticeship or part time job.

With a double change, it’s not uncommon to have to start out at the bottom as you are asking an employer to take a chance on someone without any experience or work history in the industry.

Entrepreneurial Career Change

Probably one of the most common career changes made by people in their 50’s is the entrepreneurial career change.

After 20 to 30 years of working for “Corporate America”, a lot of people become disillusioned with the monotony, politics and inefficiency of the corporate world. Many of us dream of having our own business and being our own boss.

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By this time in our life, we have saved some money and the financial pressures we had with young children have passed; so it’s a perfect time to spread our entrepreneurial wings.

Entrepreneurial career changes can be within the same industry and using your existing knowledge and contacts to start a similar business competing within the same industry. Or it can be completely unrelated to your former industry and based on personal interests, passions or hobbies.

A good example would be someone who played golf as a hobby starting an affiliate marketing website selling golf clubs. If you are considering an entrepreneurial career change, there are a lot of very good free resources available on the internet. Just be sure to do your homework.

Practical Tips on Making a Career Change at 50+

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and make a career switch in your 50’s. No matter what your reasons or what type of a career change you are embarking on, here are some helpful hints to make the transition easier:

1. Deal with the Fear

As stated earlier, any big life change comes with both fear and anxiety. Things never seem to go as smoothly as planned, you will always have bumps and roadblocks along the way. By recognizing this and even planning for it, you are less likely to let these issues derail your progress.

If you find yourself becoming discouraged by all of the stumbling blocks, there are always resources to help. Contacting a career coach is a good place to start, they can help you with an overall strategy for your career change as well as the interview and hiring process, resume writing / updating and more. Just Google “Career Coach” for your options.

I also recommend using the services of a professional counselor or therapist to help deal with the stress and anxiety of this major life event.

It’s always good to have an unbiased third party to help you work through the problems that inevitably arise.

2. Know Your “Why”

It’s important that you have a clear understanding of the “why” you are making this career change. Is it to have more free time, reduce stress, follow a passion or be your own boss?

Having a clear understanding of you personal “why” will influence every decision in this process. Knowing your “why” and keeping it in mind also serves as a motivator to help you reach your goals.

3. Be Realistic

Take an inventory of both your strengths and weaknesses. Are your organizational skills less than stellar? Then, becoming a wedding planner is probably not a good idea.

This is an area where having honest outside input can be really helpful. Most of us are not very good at accurately assessing our abilities. It’s a universal human trait to exaggerate our abilities while diminishing our weaknesses.

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Requesting honest feedback from friends and co-workers is a good place to start, but this is another area where a career coach can come in handy.

4. Consider an Ad-Vocation

Sometimes, making a career change all at once is just too big of a change. Issues like a severely reduced income, geography and lack of benefits can all be impediments to your career change. In those cases, you may want to start your new career as an ad-vocation.

An ad-vocation is a second or ad-on vocation in addition to your primary vocation. Things like a part-time job, consulting or even a side business can all be ad-vocations.

The benefit of having an ad-vocation is being able to build experience a reputation and contacts in the new field while maintaining all the benefits of your current job.

5. Update Your Skills

Whether it means acquiring new certifications or going back to school to get your cosmetology licence, having the right training is the foundation for a successful career change.

The great thing about changing careers now is that almost any training or certifications needed can be free or at very little cost online. Check with trade associations, industry websites and discussion groups for any requirements you may need.

Learn How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive.

6. Start Re-Branding Yourself Now

Use the internet and social media to change the way you present yourself online.

Changing your LinkedIn profile is a good way to show prospective employers that you are serious about a career change.

Joining Facebook groups, trade associations and discussion boards as well as attending conventions is a great way to start building a network while you learn.

Here’re some Personal Branding Basics You Need to Know for Career Success.

7. Overhaul Your Resume

Most of us have heard the advice to update our resume every six months, and most of us promptly ignore that advice and only update our resume when we need it.

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When making a career change, updating is not enough; this calls for a complete overhaul of your resume. Chances are that your current resume was designed around your old career which may or may not apply to your new goals.

Crafting a new resume emphasizing your strengths for the new position your looking for is key. There are many places that will help you craft a resume online and it is a service included with most career coaching services.

8. Know Your Timeline

There are a lot of factors when it comes to how long it will take to make the career change.

Industry and Functional career changes tend to be the easiest to do and therefore can be accomplished in the shortest period of time. While the Double Career Change and the Entrepreneurial Career Change both require more effort and thus time.

There are also personal factors involved in the time it will take to switch careers.

Generally speaking the more you are willing to be flexible with both compensation and geography, the shorter time it will take to make the switch.

Final Thoughts

Changing careers at anytime can be stressful, but for those of us who are 50 or above, it can seem to be an overwhelming task fraught with pitfalls and self doubt.

Prospective employers know the benefits that come with more mature employees. Things like a wealth of experience, a proven work history and deeper understanding of corporate culture are all things that older workers bring to the table.

And while the younger generation may possess better computer or technical skills than us, if you’re willing to learn, there are a ton of free or nearly free resources available to you.

Deciding on a career change at 50 is a great way to experience life on your own terms.

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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