A leader is someone whom people follow.
Many years ago I heard this statement in a leadership coaching. And it hit me. I was troubled. If this was true, it wasn’t so much about me and my qualifications but rather about other people to see something in me worthy to be copied and followed.
It put me to thinking. Whom do I follow? And why?
Leader display values
People I follow have clear values and they express their values in every moment – especially when it is getting tough.
Lets take honesty. Everyone can be honest when it doesn’t cost anything – but what about being honest when it actually costs you time/money/privileges and no one would notice if you lied!?
What about friendliness and value people. Monday, 10 o’clock in the morning, sunny skies and clients meeting – easy to smile and be friendly. But what happens on Wednesday night, damn tired and stressed out!? How do you act towards your team after an exhausting day!?
Leaders have a vision for their own life/career
Leaders can communicate effectively what their vision is. They know why they are doing their job, share their rationale for their decisions and inspire others with their life.
Leaders are fun to be with
Usually, it so much fun to be with them. From what I have been seeing in people around me, leaders tend to like themselves. They are comfortable who they are. They are aware of their strengths, weaknesses, flaws and genius ideas. And this self confidence creates an atmosphere that is just compelling.
Leaders see the life/career of their followers
It’s not the most important part but if a leader wants to win my heart, he/she must see my stake in the whole endeavor as well. If this part isn’t given, the person might be a strong inspiration for me – but not a leader I am following.
Coming back to the question of the beginning: How can I determine whether I am leader? First of all you probably have followers that somehow let you know that you display certain trademarks that identify you as a leader.
If you are yet too young to have people following you or you are not sure whether there are people seeing leadership potential within you, start working on the named characteristics.
Start by answering these questions for yourself: Which values do you live? Which value could be added? How would you know that you have lived the value? Do you have a vision for your job? Why are you doing what you are doing? Do you like yourself? And last but not least: in whom do you see leadership potential that you can help to unfold?