11 things you’re doing in public that show you’re a natural leader

Leading isn’t always about being at the head of the table or commanding a room. It’s often the subtle actions you take, the way you carry yourself, and the impression you leave on others that truly highlight your leadership qualities.

Believe it or not, you might be showing signs of being a natural leader without even realizing it. And guess what? Most of these signs can be seen in how you behave in public.

In this article, I’m going to share with you 11 things you’re doing in public that show you’re a natural-born leader. So, let’s dive right into it.

1) You’re engaging

Great leaders have a knack for engaging with others. This doesn’t just mean being a good conversationalist – it’s about actively listening, showing empathy, and responding in meaningful ways.

In public settings, a natural leader doesn’t isolate themselves or stick to their comfort zone. Instead, they reach out, engage with others, and make everyone feel included.

Ever found yourself in a group setting where you effortlessly facilitate conversation? Do you find it easy to strike up conversations with strangers or make everyone around you feel comfortable? These are clear signs of an engaging personality, a key trait of natural leaders.

Great leaders do more than just talk – they connect. And in public settings, this ability to genuinely engage with others is a telltale sign of your innate leadership potential. 

2) You’re not afraid to stand up for what’s right

This one brings back memories. I was at a neighborhood meeting a few years back and a contentious issue came up. There were plans to cut down an old tree in the park to make room for a new playground. A majority seemed to be in favor of the new playground, but something didn’t sit right with me.

Yes, playgrounds are great. But this tree was special. It was home to local wildlife and had been a part of our community for decades. I felt it deserved to be preserved.

So I stood up, expressed my concerns, and suggested alternatives that would allow us to have the playground without destroying the tree. It wasn’t the popular opinion, but I believed it was the right thing to do.

To my surprise, quite a few people agreed with me and we were able to find a solution that worked for everyone.

Standing up for what you believe in, particularly when it’s not the popular choice, shows others that you’re willing to lead by example. It demonstrates your commitment to fairness and integrity – key qualities of a natural leader.

3) You’re comfortable with uncertainty

When NASA was planning the first moon landing, they knew that they couldn’t anticipate every challenge the astronauts would face. There were countless unknowns, but that didn’t stop them from proceeding. They had to be comfortable with uncertainty and adapt as the situation unfolded.

Natural leaders can also navigate uncertain situations with confidence. In public, this could manifest in various ways. Maybe you’re the one who stays calm and collected when plans change unexpectedly. Or perhaps you’re the person everyone turns to when a problem arises, knowing that you’ll handle it with composure.

Being comfortable with uncertainty requires a degree of courage and adaptability, qualities that are hallmarks of a natural leader. So if you’re the one who can keep their cool when things don’t go exactly as planned, it’s a good sign that you’re a natural leader.

4) You inspire others

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One of the most powerful traits of a natural leader is the ability to inspire others. Leaders don’t just tell people what to do, they motivate them to believe in a shared vision and strive towards achieving it.

In public, your inspirational nature may show up in the way you encourage your friends to conquer their fears, or how you cheer on your team during a weekend sports match, or even in how you uplift the spirits of those around you with your positive attitude.

Inspiration is more than just words – it’s about embodying the qualities you want others to embrace and leading by example. If people often tell you that your words and actions have motivated them in some way or another, there’s a good chance you’re a natural leader.

5) You value teamwork

Natural leaders understand the power of collaboration and the importance of teamwork. They know that any goal can be achieved more effectively when people work together.

In public scenarios, this can be seen in how you approach group activities. Maybe you’re the one who ensures everyone in the team has a role to play and feels valued. Or perhaps you’re the person who steps back to let others shine, recognizing that every team member’s contribution is crucial for success.

Valuing teamwork isn’t just about being a good team player. It’s about recognizing the strengths of others, fostering a spirit of cooperation, and working towards collective success.

6) You show genuine compassion

As a leader, I understand that the success of the team hinges on the wellbeing of its members.

I take the time to check in with individuals, offering support and encouragement when needed.

I celebrate their successes and help navigate through challenges. This genuine care for others goes beyond professional duties—it’s a reflection of my character.

This empathetic approach not only strengthens team dynamics but also reveals the heart of a true leader.

7) You’re always open to learning

I remember once during a trip to a new city, I got hopelessly lost. Instead of panicking or stubbornly sticking to my initial plan, I decided to ask for help. I ended up having a fascinating conversation with a local, who not only directed me to my destination but also shared some hidden gems of the city that I would have otherwise missed.

Being open to learning and acknowledging that you don’t know everything is a key sign of a natural leader. Leaders are lifelong learners who are always looking for opportunities to grow and improve. They don’t let pride or fear of appearing ignorant stop them from asking questions or seeking help.

8) You’re decisive

When it comes to showing leadership, being decisive is key. Leaders are often faced with tough decisions and they can’t afford to be indecisive.

In public, you might display this quality in various ways. Perhaps you’re the one who decisively chooses the restaurant when your group can’t make up their minds. Or you might be the person who steps in to make a call when a decision needs to be made quickly.

Being decisive doesn’t mean making rash decisions. It’s about assessing the situation, considering the options, and then confidently making a choice. 

9) People naturally gravitate towards you

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Ever noticed how people seem to naturally flock to you during social gatherings? It’s like you’ve got some magnetic field around you. This isn’t by chance. It’s not about being the loudest or most entertaining person in the room. It’s about the energy you give off.

Just last week, I was at the park with my dog. I sat down on a bench and before I knew it, I had three people chatting with me about everything from dog breeds to their favorite Netflix series. It’s about being open and approachable – qualities that leaders have in abundance.

10) You go the extra mile

Leadership isn’t about the title or the corner office. It’s about rolling up your sleeves, getting your hands dirty, and doing whatever it takes to get the job done. Natural leaders don’t shy away from hard work; they embrace it.

Remember that time when a friend needed help moving? They were overwhelmed, stressed, and didn’t know where to start. You stepped in, not only lending a hand but also organizing the whole operation.

You stayed until the last box was unpacked, making sure your friend was settled and comfortable. That’s going the extra mile. That’s leadership.

11) You take responsibility

Above all, natural leaders take responsibility. They don’t shy away from owning their actions, both successes and failures. They understand that every decision has consequences and they’re willing to stand by them.

Whether it’s apologizing when you’re in the wrong or stepping up to handle a difficult situation, taking responsibility is the hallmark of a true leader. It shows maturity, integrity, and courage – traits that are highly respected and admired in any leader.

In public, this might be as simple as admitting when you’ve made a mistake or as significant as taking the lead on a complex project. If you have a habit of stepping up and taking responsibility in various situations, it’s a clear indicator of your natural leadership abilities.

Final thought: It’s about authenticity

When it boils down to it, being a natural leader is about authenticity. It’s not about trying to fit into a preconceived mold of what a leader should look like or act like.

Authentic leadership is about staying true to who you are, standing up for what you believe in, and leading with both your head and heart. It’s about showing empathy, valuing collaboration, taking responsibility, and inspiring others to do the same.

As Maya Angelou poignantly said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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