5 signs you might be leadership material – Part 1 of 2
Being in charge is attractive to many people. For some, it’s the pinnacle of their career path. But are you leadership material? Whatever industry you’re in, leading effectively can be challenging and stressful. Some ‘people in charge’ end up feeling so demoralised by their leadership responsibilities that they end up yearning to be back in a position where the buck no longer stops with them. Leaders often feel isolated and some find it difficult to trust the team around them.
Being a good leader isn’t just about knowing everything there is to know about your company. It’s not about having been there for the longest amount of time. It’s not even just about being able to manage well. Leadership comes with its own unique set of responsibilities that can feel like either a blessing or a curse. This can depend on events that are very often outside of the leader’s control.
There are some common traits that good leaders possess. In the next two articles, we’ll be sharing those traits with you. So, if you’re keen to take the top job, let’s have a look at the first 5 signs that indicate you could be ready to be a good leader:
1. You remain calm under pressure
Leading any organisation can be extremely stressful, even on a day-to-day basis. But when crises strike, as they do from time to time, the level of stress for the leader can be huge. Most good leaders are able to appear calm and in control whatever happens. Even if they are struggling not to panic, outwardly they remain cool.
Stress can be detrimental to health. If you’re the type of person that gets stressed on a regular basis, or takes that stress home with you, leadership may not be for you.
If you struggle to manage stress, it’s important you seek advice on stress management techniques and develop effective coping mechanisms before you make the move into leadership.
2. You expect problems – and you plan for them!
If organisations didn’t experience problems, they wouldn’t need good leaders. It’s the very reason that some companies succeed and some fall by the wayside. Problems are going to happen; it’s how they are dealt with that matters. The person in charge is usually the one with the ultimate responsibility for dealing with problems. It’s important that leaders are able to ‘risk assess’ their organisation and identify potential problems. This must be done before they occur. Good leaders can respond quickly and effectively in most crisis situations because they’ve already anticipated them and formulated a response.
If you expect leadership to be all about steering your ship through calm waters, think again. Most people can captain a ship when there aren’t problems. It’s when storms hit that the good leaders rise to the top.
3. You seek differing opinions
Good leaders recognise that their opinion isn’t necessarily the best or only way to do something. Many of the finest leaders regularly ask their ‘shop floor’ employees for their suggestions. The wider you cast your opinion net, the more opinions you catch. Having varied opinions allows you to evaluate them all. You can then decide on the best course of action, confident there isn’t anything you’ve missed.
If you recognise that your way isn’t necessarily the best way and feel comfortable asking others for advice, you’re on the right track to making a successful leader.
4. You enjoy developing other people’s talents
As a good leader, you should be excited about other people’s talents and be keen to help them develop. Good leaders are team workers. They realise that everyone is unique and everyone has something they’re really good at. As a good leader, it’s important to be able to spot people’s talents, even if they’re not aware of them.
Your best resources are the people who work with you. It’s people that make a company, not a product or procedure. Learn to nuture the talents of those around you and you improve the company as a whole. You also create a loyal and skilled workforce.
5. You learn from others’ and your own mistakes
Some people in charge seem to just steamroller over everyone and never admit their own mistakes. This is definitely not a good way to lead! Good leaders recognise that everyone makes mistakes. Errors are opportunities to learn from. Learning creates new and better ways of working in the future.
If you can admit to your own mistakes and learn from them, you have the potential to be a good leader. On the same note, using another member of the workforce as a scapegoat or embarrassing them due to a mistake is counter-productive. Good leaders investigate the root cause of an issue and ensure that lessons are learned from the mistake to make sure it doesn’t occur again. This approach includes implementing any necessary training with other members of the team who could potentially make the same mistake.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, watch out for the next part of this mini series – 5 More signs you might be leadership material
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