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The World Would Be Better If More People with Leadership Talent Were Bosses

Not all bosses have an innate talent for leadership, and not everyone who does have that talent realizes it, or is placed in a leadership position. While the title of manager or supervisor may imply that one is a team leader, the reality is that many bosses aren't true leaders. This doesn't mean that they can't be effective at reaching company goals or maintaining performance standards; just that they aren't always the best leaders.

What does good leadership actually mean? Do you have leadership potential? What makes someone a good leader? These questions have been the focus of decades of leadership science and part of hundreds of surveys. Today, we're putting together a checklist of some personal qualities that indicate the potential for good leadership.

Do You Have Enough Expertise?

Leaders are expected to show good judgment, make the right decisions, and evaluate the capabilities of each team member and the team as a whole. In order to do this, you'll need a strong working knowledge of your industry, including technical expertise, a solid breadth of experience, and the hard skills required in your industry. While leadership charisma may be universal, if you don't know what you're talking about, you won't have the respect of your team.

How Are Your People Skills?

Besides the hard skills specific to your industry, leadership requires soft skills, too – emotional intelligence and being "good with people." Chief among these are empathy, intelligence, integrity, and trainability or coachability. Good leaders are a work in progress and embrace growth opportunities. Over time, your soft skills may improve, but your ability to develop into a great leader often hinges on your ability to relate to others.

What Is Your Motivation?

If your motives for being a leader or seeking a leadership position are selfish or for advancing your own career, your direct reports will quickly notice. Leaders who lead to effect change in an organization, or because their own values align with those of the company, have a more engaged, loyal team. What you value and your motives will shape the behavior of those below you, too.

Can You Grow and Mentor Others?

Great leaders seek to inspire and grow others. Are you a good coach? Do you know what your team members need to succeed? It can be anything from more responsibility to additional training – the best leaders spot potential in others and seek the best ways to tap into it.

Do You Want To Be Responsible For The Success Of Others?

Do you really want to be a leader? Sometimes, leadership positions are the next logical step in your career progression. However, not everyone is suited to being a leader. Plus, despite the esteem that leaders are held in, being successful in your field doesn't always mean managing and inspiring others.

Even if you think you want to be a leader, take some time to genuinely reflect on your ability to lead others. Unfortunately, many people are promoted into managerial positions because they were stellar individual contributors to the team, but they flounder once they're tasked with leading others. If you suspect that you've ended up here, you may wish to speak privately to your boss and determine whether additional training will help hone your leadership skills or if you're truly better suited to being the team's star player instead of the coach.

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