If you exhibit these 9 traits, you’re probably a natural born leader

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Ever met someone and thought, “Wow, they just have that leader vibe?”

Some people just seem born to lead, right?

Leadership isn’t just about fancy titles. It’s more about who you are.

Sure, anyone can learn some leadership skills. But there are folks who just naturally have what it takes.

Curious if you’re one of them?

Today, I’m going to go through the 9 signs that hint you might be a born leader. 

Let’s dive in. 

1. Confidence without Arrogance

When things get tough, people naturally look towards someone who seems sure of themselves.

A natural born leader exudes confidence.

They walk into a room and own it.

They’re not afraid to make decisions, and they stand by them.

But here’s the catch: it’s not a boastful or showy confidence. It’s a quiet assurance that says, “I’ve got this.”

They don’t need to shout to be heard or belittle others to stand tall.

Their confidence is rooted in self-awareness and understanding, not in trying to prove something to the world.

If you find yourself often being the calm, assured voice in the storm while also being humble and approachable, then you might just have this hallmark trait of a natural leader.

2. Empathy: The Heart of Connection

Remember that time when Sarah from accounting was having a rough day, and instead of brushing it off, you took a moment to ask if she was okay? That’s empathy in action.

Natural born leaders have an innate ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.

They don’t just understand what their team is going through—they feel it.

Empathy allows them to connect on a personal level, building trust and fostering strong relationships.

It’s not just about achieving targets or ticking off to-do lists; it’s about understanding the human element behind every action.

So, if you often find yourself being the shoulder to lean on, or the person who can sense a change in team morale before it’s spelled out, you’re exhibiting a trait that’s golden in leadership.

Your team isn’t just a group of employees to you; they’re individuals with feelings, dreams, and challenges—and you get that.

3. Visionary Thinking: Seeing Beyond the Horizon

Ever found yourself daydreaming about where your team or project could be in five years?

Or perhaps you’ve been at a family barbecue, burger in hand, chatting excitedly about the future potential of a small idea?

That’s visionary thinking.

Natural born leaders aren’t just stuck in the here and now. They’re forward-thinkers, always a few steps ahead in their minds.

It’s like when you were a kid and you’d build those imaginative Lego masterpieces, seeing a castle or spaceship where others just saw plastic bricks.

In the real world, it translates to seeing opportunities, growth, and potential where others might see challenges or dead ends.

A natural leader envisions what could be, not just what is.

They inspire and drive their team towards that vision, lighting up the path with enthusiasm and clarity.

If you often catch yourself being the beacon of hope and ambition, painting a brighter, bigger picture for those around you, then, my friend, you’ve got the eyes of a leader.

4. Authenticity: Embracing the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

You know that filter everyone seems to wear, the one that only shows their best angles and hides every imperfection?

Leaders might know about it, but they don’t always use it. They’re genuine—sometimes brutally so.

Remember when you fumbled that presentation? Or that time you had spinach stuck in your teeth during a team meeting?

While those moments were embarrassing, you owned them. You laughed at yourself, made a joke, or admitted your error without shying away.

That ability to show vulnerability isn’t a weakness; it’s a strength.

Natural-born leaders don’t pretend to be infallible. They’re human. They make mistakes, they have off days, and yes, sometimes they even cry.

But they own every facet of who they are.

They know that to demand respect, they first have to give it—and part of that means respecting themselves enough to be honest about their flaws.

So if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t shy away from their scars, who wears their heart on their sleeve and tells it like it is, you’re not just authentic—you’re leading by example.

5. Resilience: Rising Every Time Life Tries to Knock You Down

Life can be a roller coaster of highs and lows.

Remember that project that tanked despite your best efforts?

Or when you were passed over for that promotion you were certain you’d get?

Those moments hurt. They sting. But what did you do? You probably didn’t just sulk in a corner.

Instead, like the fighter you are, you took a deep breath, dusted yourself off, and jumped back into the fray with even more determination.

Natural-born leaders have this uncanny ability to rebound from setbacks. It’s not that they’re immune to failure or disappointment. It’s that they see these challenges as temporary obstacles, not dead-ends.

They understand that true growth often comes from adversity.

Resilience is about grit, determination, and a healthy dose of stubbornness.

It’s about facing a storm head-on and saying, “Is that all you got?”

If you’re the type who, when faced with a setback, channels that energy to come back stronger, wiser, and even more passionate, you’re not just resilient—you’ve got the backbone of a leader.

6. Adaptability: Going with the Flow When Plans Go Awry

You’ve got the day perfectly planned out, every minute accounted for, every task laid out.

But then, life happens. A team member calls in sick, there’s a sudden change in the project scope, or maybe there’s an unforeseen global event that throws everyone for a loop.

Now what? If you’re the kind of person who sighs, rolls up their sleeves, and says, “Alright, let’s adjust,” then you’re onto something special.

Natural-born leaders are like water—always finding their way regardless of the obstacles in their path.

They don’t break down when things don’t go according to plan; they innovate.

They’re not married to one idea or one strategy. Instead, they are flexible, always ready to pivot when necessary.

Being adaptable isn’t about being indecisive or wishy-washy.

It’s about recognizing that in a constantly changing world, holding onto rigidity can be a liability.

It’s about survival, growth, and ensuring you and your team can navigate through any storm.

So if you’ve mastered the art of the graceful pivot, consistently embracing change and thriving in unpredictability, you’re not just adaptable—you’re leading with agility.

7. Passionate Curiosity: The Never-Ending Quest for Knowledge

Flashback to that family vacation when you were a kid, remember?

You were probably the one constantly asking, “Why is the sky blue?” or “How does this work?”

Fast forward to today, and not much has changed, has it?

You might not be questioning the sky’s color anymore, but you’re still driven by an insatiable curiosity.

Whether it’s diving deep into a new book, attending workshops, or just peppering experts with questions, you’re always hungry for more knowledge.

Leaders aren’t just born; they are self-made through a relentless pursuit of understanding.

They don’t settle for surface-level insights. They dig deeper, always eager to learn, to grow, and to evolve.

This passionate curiosity isn’t just about accumulating facts. It’s about understanding people, processes, and the world at large.

Remember that time when you spent an entire evening Googling and reading about a topic just because it piqued your interest?

Or when you chatted up that stranger at a conference because they had an exciting perspective?

That’s the spirit of a leader.

If you find your heart racing at the prospect of learning something new, if your idea of fun is expanding your horizons, then you’re not just curious—you’re leading with an ever-expanding mindset, and that, dear reader, is a game-changer.

8. Accountability: Owning Up Without Excuses

Let’s cut to the chase. Everyone messes up. Everyone. But not everyone steps up, looks you in the eye, and says, “That was on me.”

It’s an unglamorous, sometimes gut-wrenching aspect of leadership, but it’s one of the most essential.

Accountability isn’t just about taking credit when things go right; it’s about shouldering the blame when they don’t.

Think about the last mistake you made at work.

Did you immediately look for reasons or perhaps other people to point the finger at? Or did you pause, reflect, and admit where you went wrong? If it’s the latter, that’s the mark of a leader.

Leadership isn’t about perfection; it’s about responsibility. It’s recognizing that your actions, decisions, and words have consequences.

And when those consequences are less than stellar, it’s about facing the music without flinching.

If you’re the kind of person who stands tall, admits mistakes, and focuses more on solutions than placing blame, then you’re not just accountable—you’re leading with integrity.

And in a world filled with shifting blame and evasion, that straightforward honesty is a breath of fresh air.

9. Decisiveness: Making Choices Even When It’s Tough

You’re at a crossroads, and both paths seem equally daunting.

Everyone’s looking at you, waiting for a decision. The clock’s ticking.

What do you do? If you’re the type to take a moment, evaluate the situation, and then firmly say, “We’re going this way,” even when you’re not 100% certain it’s perfect—you’ve got the soul of a leader.

Life doesn’t always present us with clear, black-and-white choices.

More often than not, it’s a murky shade of gray.

But here’s the thing: leaders can’t afford to be paralyzed by indecision.

They weigh the pros and cons, consult when necessary, trust their gut, and then act.

Being decisive doesn’t mean you always make the right call.

But it means you make a call. And if it turns out to be the wrong one? Refer back to trait number eight—accountability—and then adjust.

If you’re the go-to person in your group when a decision needs to be made, if you’re known for your “let’s do this” attitude rather than a “let’s wait and see,” then you’re not just decisive—you’re leading with purpose and direction. In a sea of hesitation, your decisiveness is the compass guiding the way.

10. The Storyteller’s Gift: Weaving Narratives That Inspire

Ever been around a campfire, where stories seem to dance with the flames, capturing imaginations and drawing everyone in?

There’s magic there. Now, translate that to the boardroom, the workshop, or even just a casual team meeting. That same magic? It’s a trait some leaders wield masterfully.

Natural born leaders often possess the rare talent of storytelling. They don’t just spit out data, facts, or directives.

Instead, they craft narratives, bringing ideas to life, making visions palpable, and turning abstract concepts into relatable tales.

Think of Steve Jobs introducing a new Apple product. It wasn’t about the tech specs alone; it was a story of innovation, of a better future.

Recall that time when you explained a complex idea to a friend using a childhood anecdote?

Or when you motivated your team not with numbers, but with a vision of what could be, painted in vivid, emotional hues?

That’s the storyteller’s touch.

Leaders who can weave a good story have a knack for creating connections, building cultures, and driving missions.

It’s not about spinning tales but using narratives to drive home a point, to inspire action, and to foster a shared sense of purpose.

If your words tend to paint pictures, if people lean in a little closer when you speak, then you’re not just a storyteller—you’re leading with an artistry that captivates and moves.

Lost Your Sense of Purpose?

In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.

Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.

Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.

With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.

Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.

 

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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