5 Tell-Tale Signs That You Are A True Leader

5 tell-tale sign your a good leader

5 tell-tale sign your a good leader


Leadership is practiced no so much in words as in attitude and in actions – Harold S. Geneen

Back in 2009 I wrote a short article about leadership, and to this day it’s one of my most read articles with thousands of views, even though you would think it would be buried by now.

This goes to show that people are looking for information about leadership and tips on how to become better leaders.

So today, I thought that I’ll write a brand new article (a much better one) on my own site, about what it takes to be a true leader.

Not everyone can be a leader, because it takes something that not every single human being possesses, or should I say not everyone will be willing to develop.

But at least, anyone can become a good follower and learn from good leaders, to improve no matter what.

But if you are an Entrepreneur, if you own any kind of business, however, it’s a MUST that you strive to develop some solid leadership skills, because the success of your business depends on it.


Why Entrepreneurs Need to be Leaders

I guess asking why an entrepreneur needs to be a leader it’s a bit like asking why it would be useful to you to speak Chinese if you were to live in China.

If you can’t speak the language of the country you live in, your reach, your ability to do things (anything) would be quite limited, wouldn’t it?

If you are an entrepreneur with no or little leadership skills, how can you expect your business to grow in any way?

Leadership skills are vital for business owners.

Leadership skills will…

  • Help your business grow and thrive
  • Help you to be popular and respected in your niche/market/field
  • Help you be a better “boss” whether or not you have employees working for you
  • Help you be a better guide/helper/adviser to your clients or customers
  • Help you attract more business, thus more money in your pocket


What is a True Leader?

A true leader is one humble enough to admit their mistakes – Unknown Author

True leaders have a strong self-confidence and knowledge in their own field. They are not scared or shy to use the word “expert” because they know that they are expert at what they do.

But they are strong enough to be humble about it though. If you’re starting to have the “big head” it’s a strong sign that you’re not a leader. True leaders don’t have the “big head” but rather keep on learning from others, and are willing to follow good advice.

It’s not because you have already succeeded that you know it all and don’t have anything to learn from others.

As a matter of fact, even a successful leader could still learn from someone less successful then them. So open your eyes and don’t be so full of yourself.

Being humble is the start of any great leadership (that could be tweeted)!

How I Learned from a Bird

A couple of weeks ago I learned something watching a magpie. I knew I was going to use this in one of my articles, but didn’t know where yet.

A magpie is a Eurasian bird that lives in Europe, Asia and North Africa. It’s about the size of pigeon but much slender and prettier. Its color is black, white and navy/greenish blue. It’s a beautiful bird.  The magpie is also very famous to be a thief birds because it likes to grab shining things to decorate its nest.

I was so thrilled to see magpies again as I realized that I had completely forgotten about them after all these years in the US.

If you’ve never left the US, chances are you’ve never seen a magpie, but here in the UK as well as in France they are very common.

So, a couple weeks ago, as I was looking through the kitchen window, I saw this magpie with an enormous twig in her beck. That thing was about twice her length and rather thick.

So, even tough for us that twig would have been weightless, for that bird it was like you or me carrying a 25 pound piece of wood on your our shoulders.

However, that magpie was determined to carry that all the way up to her nest.

So she came up with a strategy.

She managed to fly one bit at the time making 3 stops, while each stop brought her higher and closer to her nest.

Guess what happened?

how to become a better leader

She made it!

She flew from the ground to a pile of wood logs. Then from there the roof of a garden shed, and from there to the top of the tree where she had laid her nest.

It’s amazing how much you can learn by watching nature. It teaches you simple things, yet things that we often forget to follow.

You see, that magpie reminded me how a big and seemingly impossible task, becomes so much more manageable when taken one step at the time.

That bird would have never managed that trip successfully from the ground to her nest in one shot, because her balance was seriously challenged by the weight of that enormous twig. She would have been brought down or would have had to drop the twig and give up on it.

Instead,  by dividing up what would have been an impossible journey, flying closer and closer to her nest with a shorter bits of flights – difficult yet manageable flights – she made it to her destination.

I applauded her from the other side of my window for her bravery and for the lesson she had just taught me.

This is a lesson that any blogger, entrepreneur, business owner, boss or even employee can learn from and apply as they need to manage difficult tasks.

Always be on the lookout and learn.


How to Become a True Leader

Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others – John Maxwell

1 – Be a Follower

Before you’re able to become a true leader, you have to be a good follower.

Just read the biography of any good leader or entrepreneur (past or present), and you’ll see that before becoming who they are or were, they were first and foremost followers. Which means that they were humble enough to learn from someone else.

Tony Robin likes to tell how he started reading dozens of biographies from successful people to find out what was the secret to their success. That’s how he started. Sitting in libraries and reading about successful people.

Most personal development coaches, if not all, have read the book “Think and Grow Rich” and other classics of the personal development field. Not to mention the ton of modern personal development books they’ve read as well.

What about you?

Bottom line, if you want to be a leader, you have to start somewhere. Learning from those who are where you want to be is an excellent start.

If you haven’t done that yet, ask yourself why.

2 – Be Humble

There is nothing worse than people who are becoming a bit successful and are already what we call “having the big head.”

Personally nothing turns me off more than people who I feel are thinking too much of themselves.

It really spoils it for me.

As I’m writing this, I can’t help but thinking of a couple of bloggers I know who have shown signs of this happening to them, and that makes me sad.

Please, don’t be one of those who get carried away by little or even big successes. Success is not something you OWN, it’s something you earn, thus something you could lose as well. People who let arrogance get the best of them due to their success make very poor leaders.

3 – Develop Character

True leaders are the opposite of the ones who have the “big head.” They are actually people who have developed some character.

They are humble, approachable, agreeable, and easy to talk to.

People are drawn to them, and want to learn from them. They are not showing off trying get attention to them, and they don’t make you feel that you are lesser than them.

Develop the right kind of character and people will want to follow you as a leader.

4 – Never Stop Learning and Improving

Even when you have reached a position of leadership, your work doesn’t end there.

As a leader you should always strive for more knowledge and for improvement. There’s always room for more, no matter who you are and what you’ve achieved.

As a business owner, and online or offline entrepreneur, you need to keep learning in order to improve your skills and your business, because the day you start becoming idle is the day your business starts declining.

5 – Develop a Love for Helping others

No matter what business you’re in, there is that one thing that will make you better than anyone else, and that’s certainly not “having the big head,” but rather a love for helping others.

Don’t be that one person that people will know you by “not helping” when they need you or when they ask you for a simple favor.

Don’t you know people like that?

You’ve never asked them any favor before, and the day you ask them for a simple referral, they turn you down.

Don’t be that guy. Because if you are that guy, even if no one tells you anything to your face, they will have labeled you in their mind, and that my friends it’s worst than anything.

People that have that impression about you will never refer you either, never mention you as an example to follow, and most of all they’ll have a pretty negative feeling about you. A great recipe for bad business.

How much better it is when people want to tell the world about you and your business because you’ve helped them in one way or another!

It could be an article you’ve written, and email you sent them, a question you answered for them, a small favor you gave them when they asked… It doesn’t have to be big, it’s usually is the little things that will make or brake you.

So, don’t fool yourself because you’re not fooling anybody.

What you do when it comes to help other people defines your character.

What is yours?

OK, enough said. It’s your turn now. Leave your insights on this subject in the comment area below!
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22 thoughts on “5 Tell-Tale Signs That You Are A True Leader”

  1. Hey Sylviane,

    This was a great post about leadership and I’m glad you added that having “the big head” doesn’t make you a leader. Many of tend to confuse confidence with conceit with each other which I believe has a lot to do with character.

    I really like those people who are of higher rank that are confident but yet humble, easy to talk to and eager to learn from you although you may not be on their level. These are the ones that attract the most attention and are well respected. This is the main reason why they get to the level that they are.

    As I was reading the tips I was checking off the ones I was applying and the ones I need to do more work on. But from compliments from other people it looks like I’m growing as a leader but it’s really others that’s helping me to be on that level. Everything reciprocates!

    Thanks for sharing Sylviane! Have a great week!
    Sherman Smith invites you to read..How To Make Blogging Less Time ConsumingMy Profile

    1. Hi Sherman,

      I’m glad you read this post and that it showed you that you’re doing pretty good. I think that you are a person with great character, and that’s something to cherish.

      On the other hand I’m getting a bit tired of the arrogant people out there 🙂 but truth be told I also know lots of people that seem to be fooled by them, and those people keep bringing those guys up, so it becomig a bit of a vicious circle. Anyways, I’m not one to be fooled by that and when I spot it I keep my distance. Anyways, don’t want to focus on that though.

      Thank you so much for you input and you have a great day and week!

  2. Hi Sylviane,

    I loved your analogy and picture of the magpie. If that little bird could carry that huge twig, we too can carry a large load when it comes to business. The best lessons I learn are from watching things in nature.

    A leader is one who is humble and always learning. Sharing what is learned and taking time out for others. When I have interviewed some “gurus” in the marketing field lately, I found that they were very humble and down to earth. They didn’t have that “big head” but rather were just people trying to do their best. When I mentioned what I thought they needed to do online to improve their human side, two of them took action.

    They were people who most would think they were the ones with “big heads” because they have focused on money…that is all people were seeing. I brought that to their attention and they were mortified. (you know me and my big mouth lol) Now they are on Facebook and showing the human side of themselves.

    Sometimes we do get a misconception of people until we dig in. But I do know what you mean by those “big heads” lol.

    I’m working with a lot of newbies and they think I am a leader. I do find it kind of weird but I take time out one day a week to review their stuff, when they ask me to. To give time to them when they struggle.

    The key of a leader is to be there for people.

    Donna Merrill invites you to read..5 Wise BloggersMy Profile

    1. Hi Donna,

      Thank you for excellent input here. I’m so glad that you helped those leaders to realize how some people might see them and that it brought them to their senses, so to speak.

      I’m sure that most people who really have the big head are not aware of it, or if you’d tell them they’d probably deny it, but hey what can you do. My hope is that they can be helped somehow 🙂

      I know that you are a terrific leader and you have no problem with that at all.

      Watching that magpie was not only fun, but really inspiring 🙂

      Thanks so much for coming and you have a fantastic day.

  3. Hi Sylviane,

    Always enjoy your point of view.

    Wakes up my saturated mind and causes it to think.

    If you aspire to be a leader, then following your trail of what has been used successfully in the past by real leaders will certainly keep one with toes pointed forward for success.

    Birds, being industrious creatures are a sure source of inspiration.
    Cararta invites you to read..Backup Creator Review Almost 100,000 UsersMy Profile

    1. Hi Cararta,

      Thank you for your kind words and for coming by.

      Yes birds and many other animals can teach us so many interesting things.

      Thank you for coming.

  4. Hi Sylviane,
    Wonderful article, I always believe that true leaders are the one who create leaders and not the one who create followers, leadership comes by experience, attitude and one needs to wear different hat at different time to be successful.

    Thanks for this article.


    1. Hi Mukesh,

      Thank you for checking it out this article and for your feedbacks. Yes, true leaders create leaders, indeed, they don’t feel challenged by teaching others to take the lead.

      Thanks for your input,

  5. Great article! True leaders don’t presume that it’s their divine right to take charge every time two or more people get together.

    Develop a Love for Helping others – in my point of view, it’s given that as a leader, you will help others. But leaders should lead only when they have to, not all the time. Why? This will help others to bring out what they have or what they can. Additionally, they change people and achieve outcomes.

    All in all, I can say that not everyone is cut out to be a leader, however, if you have these three traits, you might be a natural born leader.
    Metz invites you to read..How To Overcome Blogger’s Block By Leveraging PLR ContentMy Profile

    1. Hi Metz,

      That’s right, not every one is cut out to be a leader. Some people are just good followers, but every one can learn from great leaders and improve still.

      Thanks for your input and for coming.

  6. Hey Sylviane,

    thank you for the excellent article on Leadership,

    Good to see an article on EzineArticle – it’s been ages now, I had almost forgotten that Ezine even existed. It was so popular back in the old days.

    Leadership is surely a great topic to write on. Plenty of people search for leadership tips and like you mentioned, everyone can’t be a leader unless they have a strong desire to develop themselves into a leader.

    Yes, nature teaches us a lot of things, their millions of year of evolution has given them tools and ideas that we can learn and implement too. Breaking up the entire process into short and achievable goals helps reaching the final destination in a more easier way.
    Shobha Ponnappa invites you to read..“Intelligent content? What is it and how do I create it?”My Profile

    1. Hi Shobha, and nice to see yo here again.

      Yes, back in the days EzineArticles was big, and I used to use that article directory and others a lot to promote my business back then. Today I prefer using my own blog of course. Since this article still gets some hits, I thought I’d take this topic while writing a better and more complete article still.

      Yes, nature is such a great teacher. Love it!

      Thanks for your input. Appreciate that!

  7. Hi Sylviane,

    Great post. It is both sad and irritating to see those who do get the “big head” after a little success. I find myself shying away from them as fast as I can.

    You have given some great information and suggestions. Thank you and have a great evening.
    Monna Ellithorpe invites you to read..Social Media Engagement and ConnectingMy Profile

    1. Hi Monna,

      Sorry about that but it seems that I’ve missed your comment.

      Yes, it’s a shame that some people are that way, and it’s not attractive either, I only wish they’ve got that, right?

      Thank you for your input and have a wonderful day!

  8. Those birds sound really special.
    I am not the best candidate to be a leader, but I continuously work on my confidence. I am shy and yet, I have a strong urge to speak up and take charge of an issue, if it’s important to me.
    Kerry invites you to read..Not My Interview With Robert MunschMy Profile

    1. Hi Kerry,

      I think that you’re doing great. Thank you for coming. No travel article this week, sorry, but I have been so busy with “work” that didn’t have the time to write one.

      Thank you for coming by, your input is very much appreciated.

  9. Hey Sylviane,

    Great post here.

    When I first read this, I was thinking to myself, “A true leader isn’t a follower” but after I read it again, it did make sense. You have to follow, or be willing to follow, to be able to lead properly. And the best way to do that is to follow those you who lead and who you want to eventually emulate.

    Great post.

    – Andrew
    Andrew invites you to read..6 Practical List Building Ideas That Generates Amazing ResultsMy Profile

    1. Hi Andrew,

      Yes, I didn’t make this up. Years ago I read a book on leadership and one of the qualities mentioned in the book was first and foremost to be a follower. Than if you read some biographies of successful “now leaders” they have been followers at one point.

      Thank you for your input and have a fantastic day!

  10. Hi Sylviane,

    Love this lesson and the analogy of the magpie. What a beautiful bird.

    I also happen to agree with the point Sherman made about leaders. I happen to agree that those who are confident yet humble and easy to talk to are the ones that are the most attractive. Not having a big head and always eager to still be there for others no matter what level they are on. Those people are the ones that attract the most attention for sure and are so well respected. I also believe that is why there are where they are today.

    I never really considered myself a leader but I did learn a long time ago that if you’re teaching anyone how to do something then you’re a leader. They look up to you knowing you’ll provide the right information for them. I became more comfortable with the term after that.

    I was also going down your list and checking things off. Seeing where I was excelling and where I could possibly use more help myself.

    Glad you wrote about this one again. Thanks for this wonderful post and hope your week has gotten off to a great start.

    Adrienne invites you to read..What Cruising and Building Relationships Have in CommonMy Profile

    1. Hi Adrienne,

      I’m so glad you read this post.

      Knowing you I’m not surprise that you “don’t see yourself as a leader” but you definitely are. You’re got a lot of people following you, even in our small hang out group, if you know what I mean 😉 and yes, I don’t writing this in the open, because it’s true.

      In my case, I have kind of two faces, I can be a leader, but I can be a follower too, but the stronger side of me is to lead no doubt. That’s why in relationships I always find myself leading and I don’t like it at all anymore. I want a real man now LOL at least to lead with me.

      About the magpie, I had to look up the English translation of the name of that bird as soon as I saw them again when I first arrived in Scotland. In French it’s pie, but it’s pronounced pee. Yep, I know 🙂 the comic side of languages. But interestingly the “pie” part is still there in English too. Yes, it’s a beautiful bird and it brought back many memories to me too.

      Glad you enjoyed this topic, Adrienne, and thank you for coming.

  11. Hi Sylviane,
    This is a superb piece! What more can one access about leadership? You just hit at the crucial points that should be acknowledged.

    Indeed, a true leader must be a good follower, humble, have charisma, help others and teachable.

    The points are well explained. You are shown tremendous leadership skill in this write-up 😀
    I left the above comment in kingged.com where this article was shared as well.

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