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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

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Michael Woronko

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

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

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Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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