Warren Bennis once said, “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
He was right, however, the ability to shape the external world is but one part of what true leadership is really about.
In reality, there’s so much more happening behind the scenes. And only a specific kind of person can get through it all.
Care to know more? If you have these 9 personality traits, you’re a natural leader.
1) You have a sense of direction
Everyone talks about the importance of having a vision when it comes to leadership, and that’s all good and well – after all, you wouldn’t get very far if you had no goal to aim for – but few people elaborate further.
A vision isn’t just about having a dream that might one day become true. It’s about establishing a goal, heading in the direction that leads there, and diligently following the trail.
No matter if you want to be a politician, a CEO, or a leader of a volunteer organization, you’ve got to know how to get to your final destination first and foremost.
And then you’ve got to take all the necessary steps that get you there – even if you feel really lazy or scared.
As a leader, your willpower to keep going needs to be off the charts. Because at the end of the day, it’s your discipline and your drive that inspire others the most.
2) You tend to inspire others without trying
I have a friend who’s incredibly hard-working. She simply gets stuff done – not because she wants to but because she has the willpower to jump in even when she’s feeling “meh”.
Not feeling up for going to the gym today? Too bad, it’s on her schedule, so that’s what she’s doing.
A bit too lazy to wash the dishes? Screw it, she’ll either have to do it now or tomorrow, so she’s choosing to get it over with now.
And it’s not just her hard-working nature that’s so inspiring. It’s also that she’s kind and warm and knowledgeable; it’s that she has so many practical pieces of advice up her sleeve that she could very well be an influencer; and it’s that she never hesitates to share all those tips with her friends.
In other words, she strives to improve herself and she isn’t stingy about the stuff she learns. In return, others look up to her because she simply radiates inspiration.
And if there’s one thing a leader ought to do…it’s to have the ability to inspire the people around them.
3) You understand people on an emotional level
Of course, my friend would never be so freaking inspiring if she had no people skills.
You can achieve amazing things in life, but if someone asks you for advice and you just dismiss them, they’re not going to want to follow you. That kind of attitude inspires anger and bitterness. Not loyalty.
A common trait that natural leaders share is that they understand how people work on an emotional level. And because they’re very empathetic, they can alter their behavior based on the emotional atmosphere in the room in order to appeal to those emotions and be very persuasive.
It sounds quite calculating and cold, but the truth is that many empaths just do this naturally.
Are you an empath or an emotionally intelligent person? If so, you’re much more likely to lead with empathy and to lead well.
4) You often end up delegating tasks to others
Another friend of mine who’d also make for an excellent leader always ends up in situations where he’s somehow in charge of the whole operation – even if he’s new or inexperienced.
When there are six people standing in a circle, unsure of what to do first and throwing responsibility from one person to another as if it were a hot ball, my friend comes in, tells everyone what to do based on their strengths and weaknesses, and the whole problem’s sorted.
*Snap* Just like that.
Natural leaders look at a group of people and immediately know who would be best for which job. It’s like a sixth sense.
5) You’re not afraid to assert yourself
If my friend was too afraid to speak up and delegate all the necessary tasks to everyone, they’d probably keep running in circles for another half an hour.
I’m not saying you need to be an outgoing extrovert to be an amazing leader. That’s not the case at all. I mean, Bill Gates is an introvert, and yet he built something as huge as Microsoft.
But once you have a vision and a plan on how to execute it, you’ve got to be willing to fight for it.
You’ve got to believe in yourself enough to claim your place in the world.
6) You pivot, pivot, pivot
Eventually, you’ll come across a bump in the road. If there are no bumps, you’re probably on the wrong road.
The time has come for you to pivot. To adapt. To change plans and grow from it.
And if you’re a natural leader, flexibility is your middle name, which means you’re more than capable of changing your approach based on a new set of circumstances.
Remember when I spoke about the importance of having a sense of direction? Here’s where your navigation skills come in handy.
There’ll come a point when you have to take the long way round or go in a slightly different direction than you originally planned. But as long as you know how to come back to the main road – in other words, as long as your vision remains clear – you’re safe and sound.
7) You love a challenge
If you’re a natural leader, you don’t just sigh and hesitantly make your way around an obstacle.
Instead, you face it with enthusiasm and drive because you know that the only way to grow is to be continually challenged. If there’s no challenge, where’s the fun?
You want to solve problems. You want to approach an issue from multiple different perspectives, brainstorm and brainstorm and brainstorm some more, and then, once you’ve finally solved it, experience the euphoria that comes from a job well done.
And that’s because you’re a visionary. Creativity is one of your strong suits, and there are no obstacles that can stop you in your tracks. Slow down, maybe.
Stop completely? Not a chance.
8) You can carry the burden of responsibility
This is a big one.
Not everyone’s cut out for carrying such heavy burdens as responsibility. Leaders aren’t just responsible for their own well-being and prosperity; they’re in charge of dozens – sometimes hundreds or thousands – of lives.
Becoming a leader isn’t just something you decide to do on the fly. It’s a very serious decision because it means every decision you make is going to affect the world on a large scale.
Just imagine it. The power. The responsibility.
Can you carry it and not fall apart?
If your answer is yes… you might be a natural leader.
9) You’re a humble narcissist
“Wait, what? I don’t want to be a narcissist!”
Not so fast. Narcissism is often seen as a purely negative trait, however, it’s got its benefits – as long as it’s balanced out by humility.
In essence, humble narcissism means that you are confident enough to believe in yourself but humble enough to listen to advice.
You are proud of your strengths, but you also work on your weaknesses.
You are strong and inspiring, but you’re also relatable on a human level.
Balance is everything. And natural leaders are very well aware of that.