Are You a Leader?

Big QuestionI’m often asked, “Do you think anyone can be a leader or do you think some people are just born leaders?”  I am quick to answer that “leadership is more than charisma that is given at birth to a small handful.  Many people have it in them to be exceptional leaders.”  What does it take?  It’s a combination of circumstance & commitment.  In the right circumstance, they have to hear the call, and rise to the occasion.  They also have to be willing to make a commitment to leadership over ego.

Being a leader is all about the being, not the doing of leadership.  The doing?  Anyone can do that, it’s a checklist.  The being is completely another matter.  Here’s three questions to ask yourself if you have it in you to be a leader.

Do you focus your energy on relationships?  Spreadsheets, conference calls and meeting after meeting are generally what takes up the day.  However, leaders turn them into opportunities to connect, recognize, praise, and brainstorm.  Without other people, leaders do not exist.  The heart of leadership lies in relationship.   Relationship is what calls people to give 110% and be their best.

How do you show that others have your trust?  Leaders, like most of us, have to-do lists that are 100 miles long.  Leaders are faced with a choice: crank through the endless list of priorities or delegate some of the important pieces to others to bring a fresh perspective and new energy to the job at hand.  Once they delegate, true leaders guide, support and help to remove roadblocks instead of mandating the course.

Have you sharpened your listening skills?  Many senior people assume that they were promoted because they have the answers.  In fact, a large percentage of those same people have fallen into the habit of directing vs. listening.  Directing other’s work at a micro level not only negatively impacts employee engagement but also misses key opportunities to empower future new ideas 2) more people take ownership for the work 3) future leaders are mentored and stretched to grow 4)leaders have the opportunity to learn something new too.

The being of leadership starts with something well within your reach – self-knowledge.  Stretch yourself!  Ask for feedback from peers, superiors and subordinates.  Ask how you’re doing with relationships, trust and listening.  Ask trusted advisors to hold you accountable for being the leader that you most want to be.  If you’re willing to take what you learn and commit to always growing you have it in you to be an exceptional leader.


Alli PolinCoach, Facilitator, Employee Engagement champion, Employee Retention & Development obsessed, Blue Sky Dreamer and Mom Extraordinaire.  Alli Polin coaches and empowers leaders to live their personal leadership adventure with power and purpose from her homebase in Alice Springs, Australia. Follow her on Twitter @AlliPolin.  You can also find her at