Are You a Great Leader? 7 Ways You Can Tell

Are You a Great Leader? 7 Ways You Can Tell

John Eades 31/01/2019 3

The feeling you get from positively impacting another person is the essence of what leadership is all about. As a leader, you want your people to focus on the meaning and mission of their work. This will in turn help them develop as individuals and as a group. I can’t think of a time where we needed leaders more than right now.

Those in leadership positions often “talk the talk”; they make promises about how they will lead the business and its employees, but fall short when it comes to taking action. You may assume that you show your team what leadership is all about; but are you actually practicing what you preach? By taking a deep look at your gestures, behaviors, and the response you get from your people, you will discover the truth behind how great of a leader you actually are.

Here are seven ways you can tell if you are great leader based on actions.

Do you Focus on the Process?

During your weekly team meeting, is the conversation focused around revenue or execution? Think hard about it. Is it focused on the things that are going to help the team achieve, or just harping on past results? In a Super Bowl interview this week Carolina Panthers coach, Ron Rivera said, “Be where your feet are.” I thought this statement really embodied focusing on the process. It really is that simple; do you have your team focusing where their feet are, or in a place in the past or future? The process is the present. Be where your feet are.  

Do You Empower Your Team?

Are you the classic “micromanager” or does your team feel the freedom to do their jobs without fearing mistakes? Michael Abrashoff said it best in his book, It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy. Referring to an officer that never learned proper empowerment he says, “The more he kept sweating the details, the less his people took ownership of their work.” Empowering people can be difficult, but it’s the only way to consistently get the best out of them.

Do Team Members Approach You?

Do they feel they always have an open door policy? Regardless if it’s to get your opinion or insight, or just to shoot the breeze, how often your team approaches you says a lot about your leadership. It’s simple really; if your team does this, it’s because they know and trust in your willingness to make time for them. 

Does the Team Know What They are Accountable For?

One of the most critical components of great leadership is accountability. Individuals will always have a hard time holding themselves accountable. (Case in point, the last diet you tried)  If you are each team members’ positive accountability partner, they should be able to rate their performance themselves.

Are You Self Aware?

This is a tough question to answer, but it is probably the most important on the list. Great leaders know who they are; this allows them to play to their strengths, overcome their shortcomings, and be genuine in their communication with their team. So this begs the question; do you know who you really are? Do you know exactly where your strengths lie?

Does the Team Talk about the Future?

Often times, the best leaders aren’t just masters at providing a vision of the future. They also understand that if the team doesn’t take ownership in the vision, it is worthless. Do your team members talk about and take ownership in the future? If so, it’s a positive sign in your leadership abilities.

Do You Manage Each Person Differently?

In some ways, the science of managing people is the essence of leadership. Great leaders understand that while they must have consistent values to hold employees accountable for, they have to manage them all differently. Each individual has a different DNA and makeup. They are driven and motivated by different things, therefore they must be managed differently. So this begs the question, do you manage all of your people the same?

If you can’t answer yes to all these questions, it doesn’t mean you can’t become a great leader. Exceptional leadership is a never ending process of improvement; once that lesson is taken to heart, you will be on your way.

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  • James Freshwater

    Everyone wants to be a leader. Every single one of us thinks we're special and we are all better than everyone else. You should know by now whether you are a leader or not. Be honest to yourself. If the answer is no, then no amount of research or mentorship will change that.

  • Charles Flynn

    More leaders should be involved in the development of future leaders.

  • Stephen White

    Interesting points

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John Eades

Leadership Expert

John is the CEO of LearnLoft, author of, F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader and host of the 'Follow My Lead' Podcast. He writes or has been featured on, LinkedIn Pulse,,, CNBC Money, and more. John completed his education at the University of Maryland College. 

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