As organizations seek individuals who can navigate uncertainty, inspire teams, and drive meaningful change, the question arises: What sets apart those who are truly ready to embrace the roles and responsibilities of leaders?
What are the unmistakable signs that you possess the maturity to step into a leadership role?
Do you even have the maturity to become a leader? Here’s how you can tell instantly.
1) You’re self-aware
I’ve worked under many supervisors, managers, directors, and leaders that were painfully unaware of their abilities or the lack thereof.
Any leader should have a deep understanding of their own strengths, weaknesses, values, and emotions. They need to be aware of their impact on others and can regulate their emotions effectively.
This includes handling stress, taking criticism constructively, and addressing conflict in a balanced and calm way.
Knowing yourself and being mindful of your abilities is a sign you’re mature enough to become a leader.
2) You’re responsible
The truth is, there are too many clueless and outright bad leaders out there, and politicians are at the forefront. They never take ownership of their actions and don’t accept responsibility for their decisions.
Sweeping things under the rug is what they do, and that’s also why we now have so many corporations that have appalling practices that are literally destroying the world.
If you’re accountable for the positive and negative outcomes and are willing to learn from your mistakes, you have what it takes to become a competent leader.
And if not, you can always go into politics.
3) You’re adaptable
The world is changing at a breakneck pace. The pandemic, AI, global warming, supply shortages, worker shortages, inflation, and wars – these are just some of the things that have happened in the last couple of years.
Being a leader isn’t as easy as it seems sometimes. But if you’re already showing signs of how adaptable you are and have shown that you can adjust your plans and strategies to align with evolving circumstances and embrace new ideas, that’s great news.
Here’s another way you can instantly tell you’re mature enough for leadership positions.
4) You’re decisive
Have you ever seen an indecisive leader? I have, and it isn’t pretty. If you have what it takes to make decisions in a timely manner, considering the available information and potential consequences, you’re already on your way to the top.
Consider that you also have to be comfortable with making tough choices and can weigh the risks and benefits before taking action.
And after you’ve made the decision, you’ll need to communicate it clearly to your team.
5) You’re a good communicator
That’s why you need to be a good communicator who articulates clearly, honestly, and respectfully.
If you still aren’t good at active listening and you aren’t good at conveying your ideas, you’ll have to work on these skills a bit more.
People don’t like to follow leaders that are rude or can’t provide them with constructive criticism and feedback.
Also, pay attention that you need to adapt your communication style to different individuals and situations.
6) You take the initiative
Good leaders don’t wait for others to tell them what to do. Instead, they take the initiative themselves. If you’re proactive and often take the lead in situations, it’s a good sign that you’re ready to be a leader.
You need to have the foresight and drive to act before being asked, address potential problems before they arise, and seize opportunities that others might not see yet.
Basically, see what needs to be done and take action without being prompted. Here are a couple of examples:
- Making improvements to existing procedures
- Identifying and capitalizing on new opportunities
- Stepping in to resolve issues before they become major problems
This directly leads us to the next point.
7) You have problem-solving skills
Do you fear problems and have anxiety from bad things happening at work? If so, you might not be ready to become a leader yet.
You see, most leadership positions inherently come with infinite challenges, problems, and setbacks that can take quite a toll on your physical and mental state.
But if you see problems as challenges to be overcome rather than impossible obstacles and are able to come up with solutions, you just might have what it takes.
8) You’re good at conflict resolution
Another thing that most workplaces and organizations don’t lack is conflicts between staff, customers, and business partners.
As a leader, you will have to possess strong conflict-resolution skills and the ability to mediate disagreements, find common ground, and foster a collaborative atmosphere.
If you’re already showing signs of that, good for you!
But you’ll also have to be extremely patient; otherwise, people will think you are an insensitive brute.
9) You’re patient
In my former workplace, I had a manager that was extremely patient with employees and customers. And still, some people thought he was not sensitive enough and asked too much from them.
That just illustrates that patience is subjective. What I found admiringly patient and thoughtful of other peoples’ feelings, others found insensitive.
Still, whether it’s dealing with a difficult team member, navigating a challenging project, or working towards long-term goals, patience is key.
And you will have to have a lot of it.
10) You have the courage
It’s one thing to be aware of your abilities and completely another to believe in them and in yourself.
Confidence isn’t about knowing everything but about having the courage to take risks and face new situations.
Making tough decisions is the name of the game. And time will almost certainly be of the essence.
If you already have the courage to do these things, it’s a good sign that you’re ready to be a leader.
However, you could be very courageous, but without the following trait, it will be worthless.
11) You can see the big picture
Having a vision and strategic thinking is a skill not many people have. It’s also why people admire great leaders that have them. Just think of Steve Jobs, Indira Gandhi, Winston Churchill, and others.
They saw the big picture and set a clear direction for the future. If you understand how to strategically move towards goals and anticipate future challenges and opportunities, one day, you might also be remembered by millions of people.
This next thing goes hand-in-hand with seeing the big picture.
12) You motivate and inspire others
One of the key roles of a leader is to motivate and inspire their team. You might be ready to be a leader if you can inspire others to share your vision and work towards common goals.
Great leaders are known for effectively communicating their vision and goals, painting a compelling picture of the future. After you’re done listening to them, you can clearly see what they envisioned.
They almost always have this following trait that you perhaps have as well.
13) You have integrity
Integrity is something many leaders lack, unfortunately. Being honest, ethical, and transparent, even when no one is looking, are fundamental characteristics of ethical leaders.
As it seems, there’s no place for that in capitalism. That doesn’t mean that things couldn’t and shouldn’t change in the future.
For all I know, the snowball could start rolling with you. In that case, you’ll also have to be extremely resilient.
14) You’re resilient
I like to think that I’m quite resilient. I’ve gone through numerous ups and downs in my life and always managed to come on top.
Can you say that about yourself? When push comes to shove, will you have what it takes to persevere, or will you rather quit and not face the music?
The thing is, when you are a leader, you’re responsible for ALL of your organization’s actions, not just the ones you did.
That’s something not many people realize.
15) You know how and when to delegate
And lastly, knowing how to delegate and trust your team members with responsibilities without micromanaging is one of the best skills a leader can have.
You can’t and shouldn’t do all the things that need to be done. Trying that will hinder your organization’s success and drastically change how people perceive you.
There are many other signs you may exhibit that show that you’re mature enough to be a leader.
Things like humility, self-discipline, commitment to learning and improving, and empathy are all signs that you have what it takes.