What does leadership look like?

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Despite what many may think, leadership comes in different shapes and sizes. Every leader is unique, and although the qualities that define them might be similar, they are displayed in very different ways. So, what does leadership look like?

Innate vs Acquired

If you look up the definition of leadership, it normally states the dominance and control a person has over a team or organization, when the truth is that a real leadership grows organically, and sometimes it doesn’t necessarily relate to the abilities but to personality.

Choosing someone as leader might be executive decision, but the one who actually validate the position is the team. The effort you put into your work, the advice, guidance, mistakes and responsibilities are the ones which ultimately take a persona to be recognized as a leader by his or her team.

What does leadership look like?

Yes, abilities are very important to make smart and productive decisions, but most of them can be learned or nurtured. However there are some innate qualities to leaders that cannot be developed.

So, which are these innate qualities a leader must have?


Loving what you do it’s no small feat, and not everyone can say they do. Passion comes across in everything you do, in every task you take on and on the distances you’re ready to go to.

Transparency and honesty

To make others trust you it’s important to show yourself exactly as you are, be transparent and honest. Transparency and honesty engage and generate trust, help build real connections and make you more likeable.


Optimism is key to having a motivated, happy team. A positive attitude will make facing any task easier, especially since there will always be ups and downs.


A leader has a certain presence and character that makes everyone want to listen to what he or she has to say. His or her insights might help understand a problem from a different standpoint.


When working with a team, things might not always work out from the beginning and be exactly what you wanted. People and tasks are different, which means you need to be patient and eventually find a way around them.


To be receptive to new ideas and appreciate other people’s inputs and vision, and have the flexibility to adjust to different situations.


Seeing a project all the way through is not an easy feat, but things do take time and it’s crucial to have the willingness to continue, even when others choose not to.

The combination of such innate qualities with confidence on your team and the work you do are fundamental to being a leader. Technical, strategic and organizational skills can be learned, but these qualities are the ones that eventually get you the validation and recognition leaders always need.

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