Good leaders aren’t born, they’re made. But many potential leaders have honed the skills that make them stand out, either because of circumstances or personal ambition. And they can be molded into managers and more.

Let’s look at eight ways to spot a good leader in your workplace. There isn’t one over-arching characteristic that makes someone a leader, so you need to analyze your teams carefully.

1. Accountable

A good leader is someone who takes responsibility for their actions.They are usually comfortable taking on more opportunities, and they accept that, if things go wrong, they will be held accountable.

Accountability is easier to spot in higher management. The higher up on the corporate ladder one goes, the more responsibility one has.

This is why, in the lower rungs of a workplace, it can difficult to find natural leaders, as they don’t usually have the same level of responsibility.

One way to assess the potential leadership skills of an employee is by giving them a project or two. Ask them to run the project, and you will be in a better position to evaluate them.

The more comfortable the employees are with responsibility and accountability, the more you will have a better idea of whether they will make good leaders.

2. Great Communication

Leaders need to be excellent communicators. Even if they are introverts, they still need the ability to communicate in a variety of situations, and with diverse groups of people.

If they can develop creative presentation ideas and present them to a small group, such as their immediate team, that could be the first sign that they’re good communicators.

But communication can’t just be about one’s output. How good are they at listening to others?

This area can be tricky. One may assume that an employee listening intently to higher management is indicative of their excellent listening and communication skills. But upper management commands people’s attention. Junior staff have no choice but to listen to them.

You need to assess how well employees listen to each other. Are they willing to take on board new ideas from their colleagues? Do they listen to feedback, and share opinions?

You also want to see how well employees share their views with upper management. Do they get nervous or over-awed by managers? Or can they share their opinions and feedback with people on different levels?

If you have employees who are good listeners, and also put people at ease when they speak and share ideas, they might be heading towards leadership positions.

3. Empathetic

Empathy is crucial to building a comfortable workplace. The days of management shouting at each other and their team should be well in the past.

Workplaces must focus on checking in on people, understanding their circumstances and how it’s impacting their working ability. People aren’t automatons. Good leaders recognize that and work with their colleagues accordingly.

Being empathetic towards people’s health, their family circumstances, and their capacity to take on tasks makes for more compassionate workplaces. Empathy is a strong sign of good leadership. Keep an eye out for the individuals who display it.

4. Growth-Minded

Leaders are people who strive for more. Are they happy with what they are doing now? Or do they want to do more?

Being growth-minded is not something all employees have. Some are happy to be in the same position for long periods of time, or only want to move up at a later time.

Related:  Overcoming Resistance to Corporate Culture Changes

Potential leaders strive for more now. They aren’t happy with simply achieving the KPIs of this year. They want to push further. They want to try something new, and they aren’t afraid to do it.

Look for people who want to build on prior successes. They are leaders, unlike individuals who rest on their laurels.

5. Inspirational

Great leaders inspire people to try something new, to push themselves further, and to strive for better results. There are always team members who take charge and create a decision tree when a project needs to be sorted.

Leaders aren’t afraid of taking on difficult tasks or facing the music, which is how they inspire their collaborative team.

An inspirational personality could eventually become a great leader. But ensure that the individual is also doing their job, not only pushing others to work.

Related Article: 7 Characteristics of Inspirational Leaders

6. Risk-Taker

Leaders are risk-takers. They see a challenge as something to overcome, not as an insurmountable obstacle. The harder a task is, the more creative they become.

A risk-taker is often also growth-minded. They don’t take risks without reason. They want to go outside their comfort zone so they can achieve higher and better goals.

Taking risks isn’t something many individuals are comfortable with. So when there are employees who show fearlessness in the face of uncertainty, they should be noted.

Now, not all risks are successful. Teams need to know that success isn’t always the goal. The experience should be important enough.

If a risk can be pulled off, that is a bonus. But the fact that there are other options for achieving something – that is a good sign of leadership. 

7. Strong Evaluations

A good leader doesn’t always do things right. But they achieve good results consistently. This is due to their growth-mindedness and positive risk-taking behavior.

But measurements aren’t the only goalpost for understanding the leadership abilities of an employee. Their skills as an effective communicator, their optimism, and inspirational mindset are also critical in making a leader.

How do they work with their fellow team members? How do managers rate their experience when engaging with this employee?

These points should also be taken into consideration when evaluating an employee to discern how good a leader they can become.

8. Team Player

A good leader knows they are not an island in their workplace. They exist within teams and strive to make each other more successful.

People who throw their colleagues under the bus when things go wrong, or don’t socialize, or spend too much time gossiping and sowing discord, will not make good leaders, no matter how well they work.

Team players can make for great leaders, and should be taken note of for future leadership positions in the company.

Summing Up

Workplaces are bustling hubs of activity. But a good leader should be easy to spot.

Someone who is accountable, responsible, growth-minded, and a good team player stands out in the crowd.

Discovering a good leader early on will give companies the time they need to invest in the growth of a potential manager.

How Can You Spot a Good Leader?

If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Ronita Mohan on Twitter
Ronita Mohan
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic maker and design platform. Ronita enjoys writing about visual content marketing, business development, pop culture, and diversity.
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