Have you ever looked at someone and thought ‘It’s easy for them: they’re just a born leader’? Or perhaps in a darker moment of self-doubt you might have thought ‘I just can’t manage this team. Maybe I’m just not cut out to be a leader?’. It probably happens to us all at some point or another in our careers – especially when we’re new to a role or we’re stepping up – and out – of our comfort zone for the first time.

But is it really possible that we can all lead? Or is it the case that some of us just don’t have the required tools to lead and inspire other people – and that we should focus our efforts elsewhere. Well, here at Holborn Assets we’d say that are certainly a few different questions about the nature of leadership that it’s worth considering before you give it all up completely.

What does your job title really mean to you?

We’ve talked here before about the value of job titles, and leadership is one of those areas where a title can sometimes hang very heavily on someone’s shoulders.

For many people, it can grow into the embodiment of leadership itself. It can become a crutch that you lean on when you feel that you’re not worthy of the role, but it can also be a stick that you use to beat people with when you abandon the idea of leading by example. Invoking your senior job title is a last resort that you turn to in order to make people do what you want – and it is an extremely blunt instrument for change.

So, what does your job title really mean to you? Is it a source of pride or is it putting excessive pressure on you? Is it affecting your relationships with other people? Is your title defining your leadership style – or are your actions?

Do you influence others to act?

We all influence other people. Tim Elmore of Psychology Today says that even the shyest, most introverted of people will influence 10,000 others in their lifetime. But that doesn’t mean that we’re all natural leaders – because one of the fundamental differences between influencers and leaders is that leaders cause other people to act as a result of their influence. This is clearly a big deal in business – it’s an environment that demands changes in behaviour all the time, and tangible benefits (such as increased profitability) as a result of those changes.

So, think about your interactions with others – while you may be influencing them, are you actually changing their behaviour for the better in any way? If you’re not, it may mean that a leadership role isn’t for you – but remember it doesn’t mean you don’t still have an influence on others or on the success of the business.

Are you good at embracing change – and then living it as an example to others?

This final point really encompasses many of the things we’ve touched on already – as a leader, you are expected to embrace, and manage change effectively. To do this well, you’ll need to be great at living that change yourself, and it’s a real sign of leadership when your actions begin to inspire the team around you. So, if you’re someone who finds embracing change difficult – and embodying that change for your team – then a leadership role may not be for you.

Of course, many of these skills and abilities can be learned, and much of being a successful leader is simply about passionately wanting to lead others. Just make sure you want that position for all the right reasons.