July 12, 2022

9 Indicators of Your Leadership Potential


Leadership potential is something every business owner or company thinks about when they hire new employees or think about promotions.

Knowledge and experience are one thing. Leadership is a whole other ball game and sometimes even the most informed people about the business are not the best ones to lead it.

Often, the soft skills that separate great employees from great leaders can be overlooked. 

Businesses can put people with experience and knowledge in positions of power, despite them not necessarily having great people skills, the ability to thrive under pressure or being able to motivate a team.

That can be disastrous and the last thing you want is a whole group of disgruntled employees thanks to bad leadership.

Good leaders, who embody the qualities we’ve listed below, have the opposite effect. 

Improved employee satisfaction, a more productive workforce and a business that’s much more successful overall, begins by making sure leaders in the company have the right qualities.

Signs you may be a leader in the making

While leadership can’t be attributed to any single characteristic, good leaders do show common signs of their potential.

If you’re wondering whether you’re cut out for a leadership role if you possess a few of these indicators, you may find you’re already more of a leader than you may have thought.

  1. You test well

While there are no set parameters that define leadership or uniquely qualify someone for a leadership role, there are a few tests that can act as a good indicator.

Testing is a great way to get the ball rolling on identifying your leadership qualities.

A great metric for testing is by using something called an eNPS score to determine how those under you feel about your leadership. Learning to understand eNPS scores can also help you figure out if you’ve got disgruntled or even apathetic employees that you can help.

Another one of the world's most popular personality tests out there is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

An introspective self-report style test that indicates psychological preferences about the way people see the world and make decisions, it’s a popular tool for companies to define who may be a good leader. The ENTJ personality type is said to be one of the best for leadership. According to that test, they are self-driven, motivated, confident and assertive.

Tests may not be everything, but they’re a great jumping-off point if you need the confidence boost to put yourself out there.

  1. You’re a great communicator

Communication is key. 

Whether it's in a relationship, a business or as a leader, your ability to effectively communicate is essential.  Especially when it comes to your colleagues or clients. A great leader knows how to clearly articulate their ideas and concisely relate information. 

The easier it is for people to understand and implement the tasks you need them to, the more likely they are to do them.

Whether that’s in person, as a group, through technology or by using new communication tools like Slack, Zoom, etc. The world is becoming more and more connected every day, so good communication skills tend to translate well as a leader in the business world.

While programs and software for CRM are becoming increasingly popular, the extra touch of great human connection will go a long way.

  1. You think long term

While dreaming big can have a bad reputation, great leaders can make those dreams a reality.

This is what makes great leaders, visionaries

They make those around them better and can get them to buy into an idea that can seem difficult or out of reach. Having a mind that can visualize a long-term goal and achieve it is a skill every successful business or organization values.

Long-term thinking also requires a sense of flexibility. Thinking long term is admirable but so is being open to change and moving with the times.

Especially with the rapid pace at which technological developments occur in the modern world.

  1. You’re independent and self-motivated 

Great leaders do what they do because they feel an innate drive. 

Deadlines, incentives and a boss yelling at them aren't what motivates them. 

If you find yourself needing to accomplish tasks and exceed what people expect of you, naturally, you’re definitely cut out for leadership. With some guidance and experience, great leaders can take this inner quality and use them to motivate those around them.

Ultimately, as a business, there is no better quality for a leader to exhibit.

  1. You are great with people

If being people oriented comes naturally to you and you’re a big believer in the old adage of “many hands make light work”, then you may be cut out for leadership. 

Being able to motivate your colleagues, and make them feel involved and valued can contribute to creating a great workplace culture.

The more people feel listened to and acknowledged, the more likely they are to want to perform well. Employees that have leaders with great people skills are going to feel more satisfied in their workplace and therefore be more productive.

As a leader, you’re responsible for getting the best out of your team. Having good people skills allows you to do this. Employees can be a source of ideas, innovation and improvement for a business - but only if you’re willing to listen. 

  1. You possess emotional intelligence

Soft skills like emotional intelligence are becoming more and more valued in the professional world. While recruiters and recruitment software tend to focus on this when looking at hiring employees, it’s also a valuable quality when it comes to leadership.

While IQ can help you get the job done, EQ is all about understanding and responding to the emotions of those around you.

It’s an intangible factor based in empathy that any good leader needs to exhibit. This enables you to effectively lead, manage and direct a team that may have many different personalities and ways of communicating.

Good leaders can direct and instruct a team. Great leaders use their EQ to do the same thing, while also inspiring, motivating and them.

  1. You can keep your cool

Being in a leadership position means being in difficult, frustrating, and stressful situations. 

Being in a position of power requires a cool, calm and collected individual that can cope with changes in their professional environment. 

Business can be stressful in any position, but nowhere as intensely as a leadership role. When push comes to shove, responsibility for failure or success lies with the leader of the time. The pressure from that kind of responsibility can be enough to make anyone lose their cool.

A great leader never does. 

This sense of collectivism and rationality allows them to make rational decisions at all times which can improve employee experience and allow your team to feel like they can come to you with any problems without risking you biting their heads off.

The best businesses have leaders who use this skill to the benefit of the business and the employees they lead.

  1. You’re self-aware

Self-awareness is the best path to self-improvement. And not just in yoga. 

The best leaders consistently examine both their strengths and their weaknesses. 

If you never look inwards at yourself, it’s impossible to become better and improve yourself, your business or those around you.

Not only is being self-aware a great way to develop your own strengths and eliminate your weaknesses, it can also impact the way you lead others. An ability to critique yourself honestly comes in handy when you need to train and mentor people. That’s a key part of what an effective leader needs to be able to do.

The best place to learn this constructive criticism is through practicing introspection on yourself. Leaders need to inspire, motivate and educate those around them. 

Self-awareness is the key to that.

  1. You enjoy taking the initiative 

That inner need to take action and drive change is a defining trait when it comes to leadership. 

Taking the initiative can be an uncomfortable step for any person. Making the leap or going the extra mile is a great quality in anyone, and it’s one of the most clear-cut indicators of leadership potential.

Followers wait for instruction, leaders don’t. While there’s nothing wrong with just following orders, and sticking to the roles and duties defined in your job description, it’s not something people with leadership potential feel like doing, at least not for long.

Not only does taking the initiative show you’re a confident, go-getting, and ambitious type of person, it also means you’re solution orientated. It can be uncomfortable to step outside the box, but it’s also something that’s a definitive characteristic of a great leader.

Final Thoughts

Leadership potential is one of those abstract, hard-to-nail-down concepts that you hear every day. It’s often implied to be some inherent quality or factor that makes one person suited to a position. 

The truth is both much more complex and more simple than most people assume.

While it’s true that some people have a natural charisma that makes them likable enough for people to want to follow, this is not the only measure of what makes a leader a leader. You may find that small, seemingly insignificant things you do in your daily life, are signs of leadership potential!

Leadershi[p comes in many shapes and sizes. While there’s no one way to lead, there are a few indicators that point out your future potential. These indicators can give you something to build on as you turn your leadership potential into reality.


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