We run into leaders everyday when we interact with others. Whether it’s the manager at your job, the police officer in the neighborhood, the politicians in your town, or even the very people you live with. Many people lead in some way. But what makes a leader great? What is it that we see in certain leaders that make them stand out from the rest? Here are a few signs I believe indicate that you or someone you know may be a great leader.
- You’re a good listener. Nelson Mandela was once asked “how did he become such an amazing leader?”. Mandela, the son of a tribal chief responded saying that as a boy, he would sit in on tribal meetings and watch his father. His father was always the last to speak.” This is usually a difficult skill for people today. However, great leaders understand the importance of listening before making a decision or weighing in. This is not with the intent to get the last word, but to understand and study concerns, issues, and perspectives to make better decisions. This also makes people feel like their thoughts are heard and valued.
- You help others without expecting anything in return. Have you found yourself finishing tasks at work because it needs to be done not because you have been asked? Or volunteering to help someone move just because? Great leaders do things to help others and not expect anything else in return from anyone. (2)
- Everyone seeks your opinion This is probably the most obvious sign that your peers view you as a leader. Whether or not you’re the boss, you’re a fixture in the office when it comes to giving insight and opinions. If this sounds like you, then people clearly value your wisdom.
- You’re not afraid to seek help. Some people in leadership positions tend to fall into the trap of believing they know more than everyone they are leading. Great leaders understand they are not experts in every field. They are very good at putting the right people in place to help carry out the mission, or finding an expert to teach them what they need to learn.
- You inspire, motivate and influence people. This is probably one of the most obvious ways of measuring a great leader. Great leaders know how to connect and stir people into movement. They sometimes know how to help people see the potential within themselves and push them to look past their obstacles and fears. Great leaders use their purpose and passion to inspire action.
- Solution-seeking. Solutions are important to great leadership because problems are everywhere. A future orientation will lead you to look outside the square to search for solutions. When you can find solutions you have the mindset of a great leader.(4)
- Lead by example. Regardless of your religious affiliation, when reading over his story, many would agree that Jesus Christ was the most effective leader to walk earth. Not only did he lead by example, but he also possessed the character necessary for good and bad situations. His faith and optimism could move mountains, his integrity is what we beg for in companies & employees today, he motivated people, was creative, humble, unselfish, and the list could go on and on.”The most powerful form of leadership isn’t persuasion or argument or force, but example. Whether times are good or bad, people notice who’s present, who’s effective, who’s working hard without distraction. When that person is you, others naturally follow you–and you are a leader”. (1) I’d say that if any leader has an intention to really touch and change the people, you should follow Jesus’ example.
What are some other signs that I missed that you would like to share? Comment below!
Ronald Cetoute, Co-founder of the BEL Initiative