Do you ever feel like the world is falling apart around you? The news cycle is so full of doom and gloom that it makes me want to wrap myself in a blanket and wait for everything to blow over. But there’s good news too: despite all the chaos and uncertainty, it turns out we’re actually living in an era of incredible progress. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine, technology, science…and leadership.

As an expert on leadership development (and someone who works with people who are passionate about this topic), I’ve noticed some common themes among people at the forefront of transformative change—the ones actively helping leaders make their organizations better places to work. These nine signs can tell you if you’re ready to step up into a new role as a leader:

You know leadership when you see it.

Leaders are hard to spot. They are everywhere, from your barista at the coffee shop to the kid who helps you out of the way of traffic on your morning commute. But leadership isn’t just about positions or titles; it’s also about mindset and approach. A leader is a person who motivates others to improve, cultivates bonds with those around them, and takes accountability for the success of their team.

Leadership starts with a great attitude—one that focuses on helping others grow as well as themselves. Here are some signs that you have this kind of positive attitude (and what you can do if you don’t):

  • You have a desire to help others succeed in their goals: If you’re constantly looking out for ways to help people reach their potential—whether it’s through giving advice or spending time together one-on-one—then chances are good that this is something important for you! If not, though, remember that leading by example is an effective method too; try identifying two or three key qualities about yourself that inspire other people and put them into action!
  • Your teammates want more time working directly with you: Another sign that someone might be ready for promotion is when they’re often sought out by colleagues who want advice or information related specifically towards their job function.

You’re not afraid of change.

Change is inevitable. Although you cannot stop change, you can still have an impact. In order to succeed as a leader in today’s fast-paced world, one must not be afraid to take chances and try new things. You must always be prepared to adapt, even if that means taking on challenging decisions or risky projects. It’s okay if something doesn’t work out the first time. Just keep trying until you get it right—but don’t be afraid of failing either

You don’t try to lead from behind the desk.

You are setting an example by working side by side with your team and leading by example. You are not invisible; you are reachable and available; you are approachable, not distant. You are not intimidating or distant; rather, you are amiable and approachable. As you navigate the hallways, your coworkers notice you (or even cleaning up after lunch). They know who you are because they’ve met with you one-on-one or attended a meeting where you were present in person rather than on video chat from your office across town or halfway around the world.

You recognize your own blind spots.

No matter how much experience you have, you are aware that there will always be things you don’t know and situations in which you need guidance or direction. Even if it comes from someone with less experience than you, you aren’t afraid to ask for advice. In fact, one way to show that you are aware of your own weakness and limitations is by respecting the insights of others. This is an important trait in a leader.

If people around you are more experienced than yourself in some area (like sales or budgeting), take advantage of their abilities by offering them opportunities to lead projects related to those areas. This will allow them to grow as leaders while helping build out the team’s overall knowledge base.

You listen and learn from others, and trust that they have good ideas.

You must pay close attention to what others are saying in order to understand them as a leader. It’s simple to assume that someone who speaks passionately and enthusiastically knows exactly what they want because they are so excited about it. However, this can lead to some mistakes if you don’t take the time to ask questions in order to clarify what the person actually means.

For example, if someone says “I think we should implement new software into the company,” but then immediately clarifies that he meant “we should hire an outside consulting firm,” it would be easy for a less-than-observant leader to assume that this was an issue of semantics rather than one of substance.

Remembering to not interrupt others while they’re talking and asking questions after they have finished talking makes sure everyone on your team understands each other clearly before moving forward with any plans or decisions–and will save your organization lots of money by preventing costly miscommunications later on!

You work hard to build consensus from diverse voices.

You know that it’s not about winning or losing, but about building consensus from diverse voices. You try to find areas of agreement, seek to understand before you are understood, and maintain an open mind at all times. You’re willing to hear what others have to say and understand when making compromises is the only way to achieve everyone’s goals not just your own.

Your vision is clear, but you let others interpret it in their own ways.

You have a vision for what you want to achieve, but you don’t tell people how to get there. Instead, you let them make their own interpretations of the vision. You pay attention to them because you believe they have good ideas. People can experience a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves thanks to this, which is exactly what leadership should be about.

You build relationships before you need them.

Developing relationships before you need them is the second most significant lesson I have learned. A good friend of mine who has been a support and a mentor throughout my career told me, “Relationships are the foundation of leadership.” And I now understand why—they serve as the foundation for everything else as well!

You can’t lead if you don’t have people’s trust and respect, even if you’re not the boss yet. If people know that they can depend on you or that they have your back, it makes all kinds of things easier—especially when times get tough or there’s trouble brewing in an organization or community.
So how do we build relationships? Here are two things worth keeping in mind:

  • Don’t just connect with people who share your same priorities—connect with those who can help achieve them too (and vice versa).
  • Find out what makes everyone around you tick—and find ways to make them feel valued for those things (even if those things aren’t directly related to work).

You recognize that people matter, and treat them accordingly.

  • You don’t play favorites. People will want to work with you because they know they will always be treated fairly if they can trust you to be honest, open, inclusive, and respectful to all of your employees—regardless of their title or seniority.
  • Your ego doesn’t get in the way of treating people with respect. Leaders with strong egos can often come across as condescending or patronizing towards their team members. If this sounds like something you struggle with (or if someone tells you that it sounds like something you struggle with), consider how easily an entire company could fall apart if your workers lost confidence in your ability as a leader; then think about what would happen if your team members lost confidence in themselves.

Leadership is an attitude and a way of doing things, not an official title or role.

Leadership is not a title. It’s not even the job you do. Leadership is a way of doing things—a way of thinking, being and acting that can be applied in any situation. Knowing the heart and spirit of leadership will help you figure out when it is (and is not) appropriate to take leads. Often, people who are said to be “leaders” by virtue of their position or title aren’t actually leaders at all!

The key here is attitude: if your attitude towards leadership is strong enough, then true leadership will naturally follow.

Leadership is a mindset and a way of doing things, not an official title or role. It’s also not something that you can learn from books alone; leadership is learned through practice and experience. You don’t have to be in charge to lead, and leadership skills can be used by anyone at any level of an organization—even if they don’t realize it yet!

Payomatix Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

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Ruchi Rathor

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