17 Signs You’re A Successful Leader

Bethany Global University strives to build up servant leaders for the missions field.

One of the courses offered at BGU focuses on informing students in how they can grow as leaders.

Are you walking in servant leadership? Take a look at this list and find out how you can continue to grow as one.

1. You’ve Developed a Leadership Point of View

A “Leadership Point of View” is important because not only does it help you clarify your own thoughts on leadership, but it helps you communicate it well to those around you.

2. You Understand the Difference Between Leading and Managing

“You manage things, and you lead people.” This is a teaching from the book, “The True Essence of Leadership” by James Hunter.

It describes leadership as the ability to influence others to work enthusiastically towards goals identified as being for the common good.

Leadership gives value to people, managing people can take value away from them.

3. You Understand the Difference Between Power and Authority

Another key concept from the book “The True Essence of Leadership” by James Hunter is the importance of knowing the difference between power and authority.

The book describes authority as the skill of getting people to willingly do what you ask due to your personal influence. Power is not a skill, but an ability. 

Using power can be damaging to relationships, while authority is building influence with others. The use of power should be avoided.

People normally resort to power because either authority has been broken down, or an individual did not have authority in the first place.

Power should only be used for discipline to train and help others grow, not as punishment.

4. You Have Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is a key aspect of servant leadership because it keeps you from derailment and failure as a leader. There are two helpful methods that can help keep you from lacking in self-awareness: journaling and feedback loops.

Journaling is a great help in keeping track of what you’re feeling, what God is teaching you, what mistakes you have made, and how you are dealing with things.

Feedback loops provide you with close friends who will be honest and critical of you, enabling you to continue to pursue growth.

5. You Are Others-Aware

Healthy relationships is another key part of leadership, so sympathy and empathy are two things you don’t want to lack as a leader.

Make sure to always be aware of the emotions and perspectives of others. Show concern for the members of your team, and make sure you treat them well.

6. You Build Trust In Your Team

Without trust, you can’t have leadership, and trust is the most fragile thing in relationships. Make sure you nurture trust right.

When a team lacks trust, team members conceal weaknesses and mistakes instead of asking for help. They jump to conclusions about the intentions of others and fail to recognize the skills of others and build one another up.

When there is trust in a team, team members are open to admitting weaknesses, asking for help, accepting questions and input, and giving one another the benefit of the doubt rather than going to negative assumptions.

Trust can be built by sharing experiences over time, having multiple instances of positive follow through and credibility, fostering an in-depth understanding of unique attributes of the team and being genuine which is showcased by being vulnerable.

Trust is kept by focusing on productive conflict when conflict comes up. It focuses on ideological aspects rather than “personal politics/attacks”. Productive conflict allows us to fix miscommunication in relationships rather than remain in tension.

Always avoid conflict in a team that has not established trust.

7. Your Team Members are Comfortable with Healthy Conflict 

All strong relationships require healthy conflict to grow. Healthy conflict focuses on taking a look at ideological concepts rather than personal attacks on team members. It provides the chance for teams to expand and challenge ideas,  helping one another develop better solutions to problems being faced.

When healthy conflict is able to take place in a team it allows everyone’s voice to be heard and challenged. It gives team members a chance to grow and feel heard instead of holding onto negative emotions because of feeling unheard which can cause team members to speak behind one another’s back.

8. Your Team Shows Commitment 

There are two main things that can cause lack of commitment in a team: the desire for consensus and need for clarity.

A way to make sure your team members are showing commitment is establishing deadlines. Commitment is key in a team because as a leader it helps you know that you can trust your team and that they can trust you.

9. You Have Authority, Credibility, and Influence

These are developed by serving and sacrificing for others. When we build authority through serving and sacrificing for others, we earn credibility and the right to be called a leader. Influence can only be built by creating credibility, which is what aids a leader in becoming trusted by their team.

10. You Are Ready to Step Out when Needed

Stepping out refers to a leader stepping into different roles required to help a team. It is a way that a leader displays a serving mindset. It allows leaders to show responsibility and care. A good leader is able to take a look around and see which needs are not being met enabling them to fill any required gaps in the team. It can be something small and simple such as realizing that no one is picking up the chairs after a meeting and beginning to do so.

11. You Have a Serving Mindset

Having a serving mindset is a critical part of leadership. Even in secular environments, it is leaders who have a heart to serve that inspires others. A good leader learns how to meet the needs of those around them, but it is not the same as meeting the wants of those around them.

12. You Are Aware of the Dangers of Leadership

In Tom Marshall’s book, “Understanding Leadership”, he talks about six main dangers in leadership:

  1. Pride: believing that we have higher self-importance than we do.
  2. Arrogance: Thinking you are always right.
  3. Self-Aggrandizement: Using power for personal gains
  4. Insensitivity: lack of regard for others.
  5. Domination: maintaining leadership at any cost.
  6. Tyranny: uncontrolled and forcefully imposed authority.

A leader should make sure they are aware of the dangers of leaderships and set up tools that will keep them from falling into these. Two tools mentioned by Tom Marshall are dividing power and replacement of leadership.

13. You Take Responsibility for Your Own Actions

When we don’t take responsibility for our own actions, we begin rationalizing our wrong actions. We ignore facts and begin to twist data into fitting our own needs.

Don’t make excuses to change data. Step up to your responsibilities and avoid rationalizing your mistakes.

14. You Build Safeguards and Accountability

A good leader is not afraid of accountability. They also call their peers into accountability about performance. A strong team holds each other accountable. They develop publication of goals and standards and show regular progress reviews. Team rewards are also a good tool for accountability.

15. You’ve Developed A Strong Moral System for Gray Areas

As a leader, having strong moral convictions is necessary. When a leader has a strong moral system for gray areas, it shows the strength of their character, and character is what pushes us away from things we need to stay away from and pushes us to things we need to do.

A lack of clear definition of morality and ethics is a display of weak leadership skills. It shows that a leader shifts their beliefs and stances easy.

To develop strong morality, the best thing to do is take a step back and ponder on what is ethical. Take a look at scripture and what it says about integrity, honest, and humility. Start putting what you read into play.

16. You Handle Adversity With Grace

As a leader, it is important to be able to handle adversity with grace. This means being able to choose joy in the hardest of circumstances.

Scripture explains to us in James 1 to consider it pure joy when we face hardships. It states how God uses trials in our lives to help us grow in perseverance. When we are able to choose joy through hard times, God helps us grow in strength and equips us to become substantial leaders.

17. Your Team Has a Common Goal

When a team has a common purpose, everyone pulls hard in the same direction. As a leader, it helps you see who is all-in for the cause you are working towards and shows you that you have a capable team who knows what they are working towards.

BGU wants to help you grow as a leader in any way we can. To do this we provide different leadership and spiritual growth courses.

Interested in learning how else BGU can help you in your journey as a leader?

Request a brochure to learn more, or apply now.