Leadership - Know Yourself and Your Capabilities

This next topic about leadership takes what you know from the last article (Leadership – Understanding What It Is ) and looks at how those areas of leadership can be utilized within the boundaries of your own personality and capabilities.

Don’t Fake Who You Are, Just Be You

The last thing you should do to be a leader is to pretend you are something you are not.  You should never fake or display a specific personality in order to be seen as a leader.  A lot of people do this thinking that leadership is automatic if you have a specific set of personal characteristics but that is simply not true.  The individual person and unique personality makes more of the leader than any specific qualities or character traits.  Leadership is something that has to come from the person you truly are.  Now that can be changed over time which I’ll cover more in a later article but you can’t fake it without a genuine change in your core values and beliefs.

So of course bringing up values and beliefs is an important part of knowing yourself and that extends deeply into a leader’s character.  One trait that I’ve learned that is common of great leaders is that they hold true their values and beliefs.   This is only possible if you actually know those values, display them and let other people see them revealed by your actions.  Many traits are related to this core principle and that is why I believe you cannot pinpoint specific characteristics.  These 4 are the ones that stand out the most for me in someone who holds true their values:

  • Integrity
  • Honest
  • Courage
  • Confidence

“No man is fit to command another that cannot command himself.” (William Penn)

Know Your Limits

Not only is it important to know some of the principles your character is built upon, it’s also important to know your limitations and what you are not.  Leadership has many stereotyped expectations and there is little to gain by trying to fit some area that just doesn’t suit you.  The different styles of leaders need to fit your personality and you shouldn’t force yourself to portray characteristics you simply don’t have.  Yet.  The limits you have now are certainly something that can change with time but leadership is hard enough in areas you are good at, let alone attempting to falsely mold yourself (mold removal North York) into areas you know are beyond your limits and capabilities.

Be Open About Your Capabilities

There is nothing wrong with being open and honest about where your leadership skills fall short.  Honesty in addressing your capabilities are a sure way to gain a trusting and respectful eye from others and helps to stay far away from the perception that you have a big ego (a leader’s natural arch-nemesis).  A leader will not only recognize their own limits and inabilities, they will look to find new ways to fill those gaps.  A mindset to support continuous improvement and admittance of needing help with that is important as it allows a leader to accept imperfections in themselves and in people with their own shortcomings.

Self-Analysis Tools

Whether you think you know yourself well or not, it’s very helpful to use various techniques and resources to self assess where you are at as a leader, what style you have and what skills or capabilities you need to put priority attention to for improvement.  Personality tools can be helpful here but since I believe that powerful leadership can occur from any personality type, they tend not to look enough at action and influence with others, which is where leadership really counts.  I have found these techniques to work best for getting an accurate self assessment when it comes to leadership.

Talk to Close Friends and Family

You can always trust your closest friends or family to be brutally honest with you but keep in mind they might not ever tell you anything bad thing about you, until you ask.  So, ask!  Be specific to ask about leadership traits and how they see you leading.  If you have little experience ask how they feel you would lead best if given the opportunity.  Does it match your own ideas?


Ask your peers, your boss and any mentors or role models you may have for them to give you an honest opinion about how you express your values and what leadership characteristics they see and don’t see you demonstrating.  Remember it’s not the knowledge, it’s the practice of what you can demonstrate.  Use the same specific questions as with close friends or family here.  Ask specifically about leadership.  You might want to look at leadership in a specific role for your workplace or future role.


There are hundreds of surveys available online, in books, at seminars or in courses that you can take to help evaluate yourself.  Here is one simple but very useful survey I found online to help evaluate what your natural leadership style is .  From the same site, here is a survey to assess how you are doing as a leader now. There are many more online if you do some searching, these are only a quick starting place.

I’d love to hear about any other tools, resources and methods you have used or can suggest to evaluate yourself and your leadership skills.

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