If someone is a natural-born leader, they’ll demonstrate these 10 behaviors

Ever heard the phrase “Leaders are born, not made”?

Leadership isn’t about giving orders; it’s a complex mix of skills and behaviors that set certain people apart.

If someone’s a natural-born leader, you’ll see it in the way they act and the things they do that guide others towards a common mission and a shared vision.

Let me share with you ten behaviors that can distinguish someone as a natural-born leader. These aren’t just random traits; they’re patterns of conduct that consistently show up among those who lead effortlessly.

If you’re curious about what sets these leaders apart, or if you’re looking to develop your own leadership skills, then keep reading. This is for you.

1) They have a clear and compelling vision

A ship without a destination is simply adrift at sea. Similarly, a leader without a vision is merely leading in circles.

Natural-born leaders are visionaries who have a clear, compelling vision of the future that serves as the guiding light for their actions. This vision isn’t just about their own success, but more about making a meaningful and positive impact on the team, the organization, or even the world.

But having a vision isn’t enough. These leaders also have the ability to articulate this vision in a way that inspires and motivates others to join them on this journey.

If you come across someone who has a clear sense of direction and can inspire others with their vision, they are undoubtedly a natural-born leader.

2) They inspire and motivate others

Natural-born leaders have this uncanny ability to inspire and motivate those around them. 

They don’t just bark orders or demand respect. Instead, they paint a vivid picture and compelling vision of the future and make everyone feel integral in reaching it.

They lead by example, setting a high bar for work ethic and integrity. They’re passionate about their vision, and that passion is infectious. 

They tend to have a knack for rallying people and igniting a spark of passion within them. Their inspiring nature isn’t about grand speeches or dramatic gestures. It’s about everyday actions that motivate others to strive for greatness.

These leaders connect with people on a personal level and understand their motivations. They see the bigger picture and help others see how their efforts can contribute towards a common goal.

A natural leader effortlessly uplifts others and instills enthusiasm in them. And believe me, that’s not something they can fake.

3) They’re excellent communicators

Communication is the lifeblood of effective leadership. Natural-born leaders excel in all forms of communication.

In order for people to follow them, leaders need to to able to articulate their thoughts clearly and concisely, ensuring that their message gets across without room for misinterpretation.

Ali Rowghani, partner at Y Combinator, once gave a speech about leadership, pointed out that great leaders think and communicate clearly. “Clarity of thought precedes clarity of language. In order to communicate clearly, you have to think clearly.” 

Great leaders have the incredible ability to convey complex ideas in a way that everyone could understand. They’re skilled at adjusting their communication style to suit the situation and the audience. They know when to be direct, when to use persuasion, and when to rely on diplomacy.

They bridge the gap between themselves and others through effective communication. They make sure their ideas and intentions are clear, leaving no room for misunderstandings.

Effective communication helps them to inspire their team, manage expectations, resolve conflicts, and drive their vision forward. It’s a key trait that sets natural-born leaders apart. Although excellent communication comes more naturally to some people than others, practice does make it better. 

If you notice someone who possesses a style of clear, concise communication, chances are you have encountered a natural leader. 

4) They have good judgement about people 

youre a leader who earns respect If someone is a natural-born leader, they'll demonstrate these 10 behaviors

Having good judgment about people is a crucial trait in a great leader. This skill, often referred to as interpersonal intuition or emotional intelligence, encompasses the ability to understand, empathize with, and effectively interact with others.

Good judgment about people enables leaders to make informed decisions regarding team dynamics, delegation of tasks, conflict resolution, and motivation strategies. 

 In his speech about leadership, Ali Rowghani attributed this trait to be incredibly valuable in a natural leader. He pointed out:

“The decisions that you make in terms of who to empower as leaders in your organization have a really profound impact on the future of the company.

“And if you make consistently bad decisions on the people that you’re bestowing authority and power to, then your authority, your followership, the trust that people have in you will diminish. So you have to make really good choices in terms of who you empower because in the end, they become extensions of you.”

Leaders often have to make strategic decisions about promotions, role changes, and other career opportunities for their team members. Good judgment about people helps them make decisions that are beneficial both for the individual and the organization, and to build a strong and effective team.

When leaders demonstrate good judgment and understanding, they cultivate trust and loyalty among their team members. People are more likely to follow and commit to leaders who show that they value and understand their team.

Having good judgement often boils down to high emotional intelligence. Again, while this trait comes more naturally for some people, it’s a skill that can be honed with diligent practice. 

5) They have strong integrity and earn trust from others

Trust is a five-letter word but holds immense importance in effective leadership. Having strong integrity is fundamental to earning trust from others in an organization.

 Leaders with integrity demonstrate honesty and strong moral principles. They show consistency between their words and actions. Leaders who “walk the talk” and live out the values they espouse are more likely to be trusted and respected by their team, as their actions directly reflect their commitment to their principles.

Integrity means treating all parties with fairness and respect, even in conflict situations. Leaders who handle conflicts with integrity are trusted to mediate disputes impartially, ensuring that all sides are heard and that resolutions are reached based on fairness rather than favoritism.

Having strong integrity means avoiding behavior that diminishes trust and credibility within the organization like favoritism, conflicts of interests, inappropriate language, inappropriate work relationships.

Leaders who act with integrity inspire others in the organization to uphold similar ethical standards. This creates an environment where ethical behavior is the norm, reducing instances of misconduct and fostering a sense of mutual trust among team members.

Great leaders take responsibility for their actions and decisions, as well as those of their team. By holding themselves and others accountable in a fair and consistent manner, they earn trust from others.

Integrity earns leaders the respect of their colleagues and subordinates. People are more likely to trust and follow leaders whom they respect. 

That’s what natural-born leaders do – they inspire trust not just by their words but their actions too. And that’s what sets them apart.

6) They are authentic

Authenticity is an invaluable trait in natural-born leaders. Great leaders are authentic to who they truly are, and do not try to be someone else. 

Authentic leaders are aware of their own character, motives and desires. This self-awareness allows them to make informed decisions, manage their emotions effectively, and maintain a consistent leadership style – one that’s authentic and true to who they are.

Authentic leaders build trust within their teams and organizations. When leaders are genuine and transparent about their intentions, feelings, and limitations, it encourages a culture of honesty and open communication. This trust is fundamental for creating strong relationships and a cohesive team environment.

Authentic leaders are known to inspire higher levels of commitment and engagement among their followers. By being true to themselves and demonstrating genuine care and respect for their team members, they create an environment where employees feel valued and motivated to contribute their best. 

Authenticity helps great leaders remain grounded in their values and vision, even in the face of adversity, which can be inspiring and stabilizing for their teams.

So if you come across someone who exhibits a high level of authenticity, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with a natural-born leader.

7) They’re empathetic

Empathy isn’t a word that used to come up often in discussions about leadership. But times have changed, and today, empathy is recognized as a critical leadership trait.

Natural-born leaders have the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective.

Leadership isn’t about barking orders and expecting blind obedience. It’s about understanding the people you’re leading, their needs, their ideas, and their concerns; and responding in a way that shows understanding and compassion.

When team members feel that their leader understands them, they’re more likely to trust that leader and feel committed to their work. They’re more likely to feel valued and motivated, which can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.

So if you see someone who shows genuine empathy towards others, you might just be looking at a natural-born leader.

8) They’re decisive

characteristics of an introverted leader If someone is a natural-born leader, they'll demonstrate these 10 behaviors

In the world of chess, grandmasters often make their move within the first ten seconds, even though they have up to three hours to decide. This quick decision-making is a sign of their expertise and confidence in their abilities.

Likewise, natural-born leaders are often decisive.  They don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis or shy away from making tough calls. They gather information, weigh the pros and cons, and then make a decision without unnecessary delay. And once they do, they stand by their decision.

They understand that in many situations, not making a decision is the worst decision of all. Their decisiveness helps to keep things moving forward and sets a clear direction for everyone involved.

This doesn’t mean they rush into decisions or ignore input from others. Instead, they balance the need for thoroughness with the need for action, demonstrating confidence and providing guidance to those they lead.

So, if you want to spot a natural-born leader, look for decisiveness. It’s a tell-tale sign.

9) They’re passionate and committed

Passion is the fuel that drives natural leaders. It’s what motivates them to get out of bed every day and face whatever challenges come their way.

Great leaders are deeply passionate about their work and strongly committed to their mission and goals.  They are committed to something bigger than themselves and are willing to give it their all.

It’s also about having a passion for their people, for their team’s success, and for making a positive impact.

Great leaders are motivated by things outside of their narrow personal interests. Commitment means making work into their life mission and standing for something meaningful beyond themselves  in ways that inspire other people. When leaders lead by setting example, people see this, they trust and follow them.

Their passion is contagious, and it inspires and motivate those around them to strive for excellence and to work towards the shared goal with enthusiasm. 

I’ve seen firsthand how a leader’s passion can transform a team. A few years back, I was part of a team that was struggling with low morale. But then we got a new leader who was genuinely passionate about our work.

She breathed new life into our team. Her enthusiasm was infectious, and it wasn’t long before we all caught the bug. We started to view our work not just as tasks to be completed, but as opportunities to make a difference.

That’s the power of a leader’s passion that drives collective efforts towards success. If you ever encounter someone who leads with passion that turns into the fuel that motivates and energizes those around them, you’ll know you’re in the presence of a natural-born leader. 

10) They empower others

Natural-born leaders don’t just lead. They empower.

At the heart of every great leader is a dedication to the growth and development of those they lead. Their commitment extends beyond achieving organizational goals. They genuinely care about their team members and want to see them succeed.

Natural-born leaders are not just concerned with their own success. They invest time and energy into helping others grow, both professionally and personally.

They see the potential in others and help them realize it. They give their team the tools, opportunities, and confidence to shine.

They delegate effectively, provide the necessary resources, constructive feedback and support, and encourage team members to take initiative and make decisions, fostering a sense of ownership and personal investment in the team’s success.

This commitment to others’ growth is perhaps one of the most defining traits of a natural-born leader.

Because at the end of the day, true leadership isn’t about creating followers. It’s about creating more leaders.

The essence of leadership

At the core of leadership are principles that transcend time and culture. Whether it’s in a small family business or a multinational corporation, the traits that define a natural-born leader remain the same.

It’s not about authority or power; it’s about empathy, communication, integrity, commitment and a genuine desire to help others grow. It’s about leading by example and inspiring others through actions and words.

These are not just traits that you’re born with; they’re qualities that can be nurtured and developed over time. And while some people may naturally exhibit these traits more than others, anyone with the right mindset can learn to become a better leader.

Leadership is not a destination but a journey of continuous learning and growth. It’s about striving to bring out the best in yourself so you can bring out the best in 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.” That’s the true essence of leadership.

Caroline Le

Caroline Le

Caroline is a content writer, internet entrepreneur and digital nomad based in between Bali and Vietnam. An advocate for freedom and living life on one's own terms, Caroline became a freelance writer, trading the 9-5 life for the freedom of a location-independent lifestyle. Caroline writes about love & relationships, personal development & entrepreneurship, among others. Caroline is an avid reader & traveller. When she's not busy hustling, Caroline can be seen sunbathing & reading her books on a pristine beach, soaking up the goodness in life. You can connect with her on Twitter @mavryk68.

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