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10 Signs You are Not Ready for a Leadership Role

Being bestowed with a leadership role is a sign that you can be trusted to lead by example and be the grounding voice that inspires your team.

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Being bestowed with a leadership role is a sign that you can be trusted to lead by example and be the grounding voice that inspires your team.


I’m strongly guided by the principle that a leader is he/she who curves a path where there’s none. My understanding is that a true leader has the capability to identify gaps in your work and proactively champion innovative solutions to fill the gaps.

Take Akiki for example. Akiki is a 26-year-old young man from Uganda who has been lobbying for better health outcomes for adolescents and youth. Having noticed that adolescents and youth are denied access to personalized reproductive care due to biases from health workers, Akiki has made it his goal to not only educate healthcare workers but also community opinion shapers on why it is important for the youth to access unbiased health care. This is the true embodiment of a leader.  

A true leader takes the initiative to solve visible challenges and suggests forward-moving practices that can help other team members to deliver their work outputs. As a leader, you will not be told to keep your work desk tidy because you have an understanding of what laxity can do to those around you. As such, we can say that self-motivation, and the ability to solve problems and come up with innovative solutions are basic leadership skills for any leader. 

I know what you are thinking, “I have all the right skills to make a good leader.” - but are you ready for a leadership role? Below are signs showing that you are not ready for a leadership role. 

1. You don’t like change

I love the story of the Choluteca Bridge famed for being a bridge that leads to nowhere. The one-of-a-kind bridge was built in Honduras, Central America, over River Choluteca. The bridge was designed to withstand extreme weather conditions (floods and hurricanes) that were common in the area. The bridge was a beauty to the eye and a masterpiece in the engineering world. 

In 1998, Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras with all the destruction and extremity it could muster. The river Choluteca flooded, 7,000 people died and all the bridges in Honduras were swept away, including the road leading to and away from the Choluteca Bridge. The flooding caused the river Choluteca to change course, flowing beside the bridge and not under it. The bridge quickly became a bridge over nothing leading to nowhere.

The Choluteca Bridge is a striking example of what can become of those that do not like change. The world is in a continuous transformation. You must adapt to change or become a leader who leads no one, to nowhere!

2. You are not a risk taker

By now, you know that winning all the time is an impossible standard. In the process of looking for innovative solutions, you will get some processes right and sometimes you might make losses along the way. The risk of failure is a constant possibility. As a leader, you have to be flexible to anticipate both failure and success. If you find it difficult to take risks, leadership is not for you! 

3. You are a control freak

A true leader knows the value of trusting your team members to deliver work outputs. This means that you discuss the company’s vision with the team and let the team champion strategies and suggestions. If you are fond of controlling decisions and always want to do everything by yourself, it will become hard for you to take up a leadership role. 

4. You have a hard time controlling your emotions

A leader strikes a balance between being vulnerable and having the right doses of opaqueness. You can only achieve this when you have the intelligence to control your emotions. For example, when angry, do not send that email to your teammates. They can read and feel the anger. You must be in a position to control your emotions and maintain a neutral poise. The ability to control your emotions is a powerful tool because then, your emotions will not be used against you. Do you have a hard time controlling your emotions? Well, that leadership role is not yours to have any time soon. 

5. You struggle with making decisions

Do you struggle to decide whether you should match your belt with your shoes? Imagine being in a position where you have to decide whether or not keeping a redundant client is good for your business. If thinking about this has made you break into several thin layers of sweat, there is a high chance you are not ready for a leadership role.


Read also: Want to make better leadership decisions in 2020? Read this! 


6. You want the rewards, not the responsibility

In some companies, leaders have massive privileges such as a limitless black card for their travel expenditure, business class tickets, personal chauffeurs, and good allowances on top of their salary. If your motivation is to experience the fat privileges that come with leadership while the role responsibilities come second, you are not ready for a leadership role. This is because the responsibilities are sometimes overwhelming. It helps if you have passion for the role. 

7. You are not a visionary person

A leader foresees the trajectory of the company into the future. As such, they are always on top of industry trends and emerging practices. This allows them to plan and put in place strategies that can help the organization grow. Vision and success go hand in hand. If you lack vision, a leadership role might have to wait.

8. You lack self-inspiration

The ability to inspire others is a basic characteristic of being a good leader. If you cannot inspire yourself to wake up early and keep working hard even when you want to give up, how will you inspire others? 

9. You are egotistical

See, the world does not revolve around you. You might be skilled, smart, and well-read, but at the workplace, it will not do any good when you keep reminding people that you’re a cup of more in a sea of less. Sit down, hydrate, and learn the basics of humility before you go for the leadership role. 

10. You are negative

There is a concept in the design world that says ‘all designs are right.’ In the design world, we use a priority table to organize designs alongside the needs of the clients, some designs fall down on the chart while others rise up the charts. This is what it should look like when taking ideas for a project. If you are someone who always shoots down ideas by telling others they are wrong, you are not ready for leadership.

Written by

Belindar Momanyi

Belindar Momanyi is a communication professional and an avid believer in deliberately telling inspiring stories. When she is not writing, she is managing social media at HCDExchange

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