Being a natural-born leader does not guarantee leadership success. It does, however, make it easier and more likely. Talented individuals have to put in the hard work, but they find it easier to assume the burdens and opportunities of leadership.

In my leadership coaching books and blog posts, I have stated that leaders are not born. They are created through trial, effort, hard work, persistence, and inspiration. That said, some people find it easier to assume control and lead. They have natural talent.

Talent requires perseverance and hard work to blossom into success. 

To understand how talent factors into leadership success, we need to understand how it works.

  • Talent determines what you can do or what you can do relatively well, without having to practice it as much as others.
  • Your motivation sets your limits on how much you are willing to do.
  • Your attitude determines how well you do what your talent allows you to do.

We can also view talent as an interest you’ve decided to pursue. Regardless of how we define it, it is clear talent alone does not equal success, and that is doubly true in the context of leadership.

How do you recognize that you are dealing with a natural-born leader? I have drawn up a list of qualities that help leadership coaching professionals identify high-potential employees and leaders.

Natural Born Leaders Lead Naturally

You don’t have to ask a naturally talented leader to jump to the forefront and assume control when the opportunity presents itself. Natural-born leaders like having control, and they are comfortable leading.

Naturally talented leaders do not view the added responsibility of leadership as a downside. They see such downsides as reasonable costs to pay for the opportunities to effect meaningful change.

Leader Types are Physically Active

People who feel comfortable leading tend to be competitive and physically active. They like to assume control, and that includes their bodies. Leadership-minded people make commitments and keep them.

They may not be high-performance athletes, but they like to work out, stay fit, and boost their endorphin levels. Endorphins increase productivity and make you more confident.

Leader Types Like to Plan and Execute

Those with leadership inclinations like to plan out their lives. Executing their plans, regardless of how small and insignificant they may be, gives them satisfaction.

Born leaders draw up plans every morning about how they will go through their day. They try to execute these plans as well as possible. They like to schedule the more challenging tasks first to get them out of the way early. Often, leadership types will analyze their performances throughout the week, identifying ways to optimize their time and resource management.

Born Leaders Understand Active Listening

Executive coaching professionals understand the importance of active listening. People with leadership proclivities do as well. Listening to others is an integral part of building meaningful connections and trust. Gone are the days when leaders ruled with an iron grip, not the least bit curious about the opinions and feedback of their reports.

The intelligent leader is compassionate and empathic, always looking to empower others and help them succeed.

Born Leaders are Open to Change and Evolution

Growth is a painful process because it involves change. Humans tend to loathe or at least fear change. In many ways, leadership is a mission of bringing about positive change. Intelligent leaders act as agents of change in their organizations.

In many ways, leadership is change management. 

Business coaching teaches leaders ways to embrace change while defeating the resistance to change of their employees and managers.

Those with a mindset open to change tend to view failures as mere steppingstones to success. They learn their lessons and improve, continually evolving toward a better version of themselves.

Born Leaders Know How to Delegate

It is easy to realize you can’t handle every aspect of the activity of an organization as a leader. It is more difficult to delegate tasks to your reports successfully.

Born leaders have a sixth sense for finding expertise in others and putting it to use. Being able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of others lets leaders empower others effectively.

Those with leadership talent are not guaranteed to become successful leaders. They do, however, assume the burden and opportunity of leadership more readily and easily than others.


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