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What Does it Take to Be a Leader?

“What does it take to be a leader?” That is how the conversation begins.

What does it take to be a leader?

There is an idea that we have “born leaders” floating around out there. What’s worse, we identify people as born leaders for the worst reasons: strong independent contributors, pedigree, education, gender, or attitude.

I don’t buy it, and I never will. I believe all of us can lead. And leadership starts with mindset, vision, and humility.

Leadership Mindset

You know you are suited for leadership when you can control your mindset. Self-awareness is a significant asset for leaders. There are three critical areas for you to focus on to build a leadership mindset.

Belief in the Goal

Leaders act from faith. The faith that there is a goal in front of us worth achieving. The belief is that there is a vision in front of us that we can accomplish when we pull the team together. And when we arrive at that destination, it will be better for us, our team, clients, and stakeholders.

Carry the Weight

One day, a friend told me that leaders could carry the weight of leadership better than others. And there is truth in that. We ask leaders to do so much. They cast the vision, and they bring their people along with them. Good leaders support their team, lift them when the effort is challenging, and carry the pain of setbacks and failure.

It takes a solid mindset to carry this burden. Wise leaders recognize this and surround themselves with the support they need to move the task, people, and business forward.

See Opportunity

Leaders teach themselves to see the opportunities before them even when times are hard. They see failure as an opportunity to learn new lessons on being successful. Leaders learn to look out into the future for the opportunities that will take them and their team to the next level. They know they need strong people around them to manage the day-to-day to focus on the future.


People suited for leadership find themselves able to see a clear vision of where they want to go. This vision is so clear that they can communicate it effectively and bring people along.

This matters as successful leaders realize that their teams can do more when they understand the vision for where the company is going. And they can accomplish even more when they know how their role aligns with the leader’s vision.

When creating your vision for your business, focus on the details. It’s not enough to say, “We will accomplish some goal.” A grand vision paints the picture of what that completed goal looks like. Can you quantify it with numbers like revenue, expense, and people? What can you do to show the impact of achieving your goal will be? How does it look for team members, customers, and their community

The more precise the vision you cast, the more aligned your team will be with it.


Great leaders check their egos at the door. A leader’s worst trait is a huge ego, believing they know the only way and have all the answers. It’s a sure-fire way to failure.

The hard part is that ego can work for you for a while. It will help you attract followers, and the instant confidence it gives you will allow for early victories. But it won’t last.

Eventually, ego becomes arrogance. Your belief that you know the answers stops you from asking questions and being curious about the answers. You end up lacking the necessary information to make good decisions.

And, that ego that was so attractive to your initial followers becomes insufferable. Your team realizes you don’t honestly care about them beyond what they can do for you. They come to know you see them as an easy to swap out piece because it’s all about them.

You are Ready to Lead

Leadership is a skill. You must develop it to be successful. Talk with leaders in your experience. Ask them about their greatest success. And their greatest mistake.

Look for opportunities to lead. You don’t need a title. Start with your example for teammates. Step up when volunteering to lead a team or project. The more you develop leadership skills, the faster you gain that title.

And if you’d like help building your leadership confidence, please register for my Masterclass “Level Up Your Leadership” on April 25th at 11:30 am.