12 Ways to Know If You Are a Leader

You’ve heard it at conferences. You’ve read it in books. Everyone is a leader. Do you believe this? I don’t.

A Group of Business People in a Meeting - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Yuri_Arcurs, Image #12479982

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Yuri_Arcurs

While everyone has the potential to be a leader, most never take up the mantle. They are content to let others take the risk and do the work.

Several years ago, I read a post by Tony Morgan called “10 Easy Ways to Know You’re Not a Leader.” I took that list, and then inverted and expanded it.

Here are twelve ways to know if you are a leader:

  1. You long to make a difference.
  2. You’re discontent and dissatisfied with the status quo.
  3. You’re not waiting on a bigger staff or more resources to accomplish your vision.
  4. Your dreams are so big they seem impossible.
  5. You acknowledge what is but inevitably ask, “What could be?
  6. You realize that you don’t have to be in charge to have significant influence.
  7. You refuse to blame others for your circumstances and take responsibility for finding solutions.
  8. You foster unity by bringing people together and encouraging dialogue.
  9. You are quick to say, “I messed up. Here’s what I am going to do to fix the problem I created.”
  10. You value relationships more than tasks.
  11. You walk your talk—not perfectly but sincerely and intentionally.
  12. You are a learner. You read, listen to podcasts, attend conferences, and ask other leaders lots of questions.

If this sounds like you, congratulations. You are a leader—or well on your way to becoming one. Leadership is not about experience, education, or talent. It’s about the choosing to lead. That’s where it begins.

Question: How else can you know if you are a leader? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.dental-management.net/ DentalAccountant

    Wow this post is very informative. I can now asses if I am a leader or not. Being a leader is not an easy task but if you choose to lead you need to be ready, am I right?

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  • http://www.ticoandtina.com/ Tico & Tina

    Wow, I fully expected this list to prove that I’m not a leader, since I don’t really like the responsibility of traditional leading. Instead, I was very surprised to find that I identified with every single point! I’ve copied this in a note for myself and will be mulling it over,  thanks Michael!

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  • Psjogren

    You need to be careful. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes, with a variety of approaches, with certain strengths and weaknesses. Not all great leaders need to change the world. Sometimes it is the ability to unlock the productive capacity of those around that makes a great leader.

  • venkata Ramana doddi

    if you see a great potential in many of the people you meet up with.
    If your complaints are less on others
    If you feel like you have choices all across
    If you are somebody who can have a birds eye view.
    If you are at peace with your self.

  • Jonnie Bonnett

    A leader always wants to share knowlege gained through experience and thinks that is a quality that should come naturally form others.

  • Erintarr

    We need to start teaching about these leadership attributes MUCH EARLIER in order to raise up a generation of leaders who can make a difference … http://wp.me/p2CKuv-W

  • Watkinssarena

    Loved it! I can honestly say that I “passed” all of the characteristics listed. Now that’s nice to know. Especially when you’re clergy.

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  • Robert Andrews

    Everyone has leadership ability trapped inside of them. I believe that to be absolutely true. However, some people are meant to manage small groups and some people are meant to manage huge organizations. Not everyone’s leadership ability is the same. We have different spheres of influence. Will everyone step up to the plate? No. You’re absolutely right about that. http://leadershiptranformation.blogspot.com

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  • joni

    But sometimes people give pressure to leaders to give priority to task, I mean,…yeah society want everything to be perfect or at least be in their favor

  • Eng. Sultan Alsasi

    I totally agree with you
    Thanks for the tips

  • shahmoo

    all these points are good but a leader should also have “vision” because without a vision would be like journey without destination.

  • Le-An Alaba

    you can be a leader ,in people system togethere.

  • Twenty

    I totally agree with The Twelve!!! Be true to yourself is a hard thing to deal with in being consistent with integrity. Tunnel vision must be applied on all accounts.

    • confused

      I’m gay, does that make me a bad leader?