When do you know you are a leader?


Every person has their own definition of leadership. Every person has their own set of leadership behaviors and attitudes. Some people say leaders are born, some say leaders are made.

I would like to share with you the leadership philosophy of Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE. When I read it, I was personally inspired and felt it was very true to many leadership stories.

It made me ponder about how leaders begin their careers into their leadership journey. It begs the question, when do you know you are a leader?

So here is a great philosophy to share with many potential leaders to ponder that question.

What does success looks like before you become a leader?

“Before you are a leader, success is all about you. It’s about your performance. Your contributions. It’s about raising your hand, getting called on, and delivering the right answer. “ Jack Welch

What does success looks like when you become a leader? 1534350286d6f6cd5a0537859581ced5

“When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. It’s about making the people who work for you smarter, bigger, and bolder.

Nothing you do anymore as an individual matters, except how you nurture and support your team and help its members increase their self-confidence.” Jack Welch

As you can see leadership requires a different mind-set and behaviors. Here is a simple way to think about it- It’s moving from ME to WE! You’re no longer constantly thinking, “How can I be number one?” but “How can I help my people be the best they can be?” it’s all about them.

Leadership chart

Don’t feel like you have to get that right from the very beginning. It takes years to work and develop those leadership attitudes and behaviors. You will encounter daily challenges and tests which will only make you a better leaders and a person in life.

 So what does it take to be a leader?

First and foremost you have to care for your people. Without caring and really building connections through meaningful relationships, the ship is not going anywhere.

Secondly, have passion and positive energy about your life and the work that you are doing together. Care passionately about each person’s development.

Third, give your people inspiring feedback—Take the time to share a teaching moment. Have a meaningful dialogue about what you like about what they are doing and how they can improve. Your level of passion and energy will uplift those around you.

What is your own personal perspective on the day you became a leader? four-ring-leadership

6 thoughts on “When do you know you are a leader?

  1. Hi Tal

    I loved the post, which really set me thinking. I particularly liked your diagram and later I will post something on my Facebook feed, which will explain why? I also think that those three final comments you make resonate very strongly for me. I like to think that I have done that throughout my life, not just as a leader.

    Finally, when did I become a leader? The experience most memorable for me was the day a group of 30+ young people asked me to canvass my mother about the possibility of a youth club in our local community hall. My Mum was the Secretary of the Centre Committee and, in the young people’s eyes, she was all powerful! They were also terrified of her! That one incident set of a chain reaction of events that led me to where I am today … and it will long remain in my memory! I also remain indebted to those young people for their passion and care … and willingness to speak up, at least to me!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    John 🙂

  2. Tal,

    This is a great way to frame the question of what is a leader. I appreciate your insights and love the focus on serving others through your actions. Wise words my friend.

    I think the first time I was in a leadership position was in early high school. I was part of a Girl Scout troop who was attending a big rally of some sort (long since forgotten what it was) and my group elected me to be the leader for the camping trip because I had significantly more experience camping than any of the others. I was also the youngest girl in our troop by two years. I had to step up and get things organized, demonstrate what needed to be done, how to do it and assign tasks. It went well, in fact we won an award for best camp site. It was unexpected and yet was a great opportunity for me to lead.

    That experience was similar to others as I started my career – I would get volunteered to lead teams or projects whether I wanted it or not. Eventually I learned to embrace leading and in particular helping others embrace their leadership potential.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. To me Leadership is a transformational process of shaping and aligning inward morals into outward actions that ultimately raise all around you, transforming them into leaders.
    Values inform individuals about what to do and what not to do. They are the guiding principles in people’s lives with respect to personal and social ends they desire-such as salvation or peace-and with respect to moral conduct and personal competence-such as honesty and imagination. (Kouzes & Posner, 2007, p.45)

    Morals and values are not only what you should not do, but also what you should do. They are a call to action. So what are my values? Kouzes and Posner in, Credibility How Leaders Gain and Loose It, suggest writing them down to clarify our values; here are my values in no particular order:
    1. Be compassionate and loving in all things.
    2. Never accept a first impression as the truth.
    3. Meet people where they are, do not expect them to meet you in the middle.
    4. Strive to help others grow their dreams.
    5. Always be truthful, including to yourself.
    6. Help where you can, but at least do no harm.
    7. Strive in life to make positive changes in the world through environmental, economic, and social justice.

    So when did I become a leader? When I aligned my values with my outward expressions in life.

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