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6 Signs You’re the Next Great Leader (And What to Do Next)

Leader with followers graphic

November 17, 2015

By: Jeffrey Campbell

The working world is in the midst of a paradigm shift. Once considered a top-down, command and control tactic, leadership has evolved to require a higher level of engagement, and thus a more seasoned skill set. Likewise, the growing demand for innovation and change equates to an equal demand for true leaders who know how to motivate and inspire others.

Are you the next great leader? Are you poised to make a difference, not just at the organizational level, but in the world and in the lives of others?

Every leader goes through a discovery phase before realizing their full potential, and we’re here to help you through that process. Here are six signs you’re the next great leader, followed by a few next steps to further develop your skills.

1.) You’re Already Being Recognized

If you’ve already been promoted several times and are gaining a reputation as a go-to person within your company, you are a natural leader. The reward in a promotion extends far past any pay increase you could ever ask for—the real gratification is in the increased responsibility and the opportunity to showcase your ability to lead others (which, in turn, paves the way to future promotions).

2.) You’re on a Special Project

Special projects have two vastly different avenues. One is the type of “special project” that puts you in a corner completing an endless, menial task. In the human resources world, that’s a potential warning sign of an impending layoff.

The other avenue is where future leaders shine. If you’re on a truly “special project” that involves a high level of strategy and communication with senior personnel, it’s a sign that you’re moving up the ladder. In some cases, you might even find yourself leading this type of project.

3.) Your Peers Look to You

When difficult decisions are being made or debated in a meeting, do your colleagues tend to nudge you to drive the conversation? Every group of peers defaults to a leader (whether official or unofficial). If you find yourself speaking for the group, the leader is you.

4.) You Frequently Think, ‘If I Was in Charge…’

Not everyone cares about the meaning of leadership. Some people accept poor leadership as a part of life that they can’t do anything about, and that’s totally fine. Meanwhile, are your visions and ideas for what you would do if you were in charge becoming increasingly profound? If so, then it’s time to stop being a leader at heart and start being a leader in the making.

5.) You Want to Learn More

As a leader emerges, they will begin to have a stronger grasp of their organization and industry. The many facets of business will all start to fit together, and everything will simply make more sense. With this understanding comes a craving not only to acquire new knowledge, but also to apply that knowledge as a strategic thinker.

6.) You Inspire Others

The telltale trait of an effective leader is the ability to inspire others.

As John Quincy Adams once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”

Next Steps

So, you’re seeing the above signs and want to become the next great leader. What do you do next?

  1. Look for ways to enhance your skills, particularly in areas where your weaknesses are. Leaders are well-rounded, and prepared to take on any challenge that is thrown their way.
  1. Seek chances to take on, or better yet, initiate a special project that will enable you to develop your skills while simultaneously advancing your company’s prospects. Consider the special project a platform to build your confidence as a leader.
  1. Find a mentor. Every emerging leader needs an experienced advisor to help develop their vision and refine their skills.
  1. Allow your enthusiasm for your work and desire for personal growth to shine through. Passion is contagious.

The HTM Master’s Degree at San Diego State University is an immersive, hands-on program designed to help you take these next steps and emerge as the next great leader in your organization. While the program targets the hospitality industry, the curriculum lends itself to professionals in any industry. Click here to see how the HTM Master’s Program will change your life.


jeff campbell Author: Jeffrey Campbell, Program Director (LinkedIn)

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