Leadership Potential: What It Means & How To Demonstrate It

Leadership potential means that you show the qualities and attributes of becoming a good leader someday. It starts by becoming more professionally competent in the area of your work. And later on, taking on new or bigger responsibilities for the sake of the organization.

Leaders have to be cut from a very special cloth since not everybody can be a leadership material. It can be hard to identify those with the special skills early enough to help them flourish. But if you can spot those who have the potential to be great leaders, then your business could reap the rewards in the future.

How Do You Show Leadership Potential?

Leadership qualities are attributes that people struggle to pin down or describe. Lists of essential skills tend to include strong decision-making skills, accountability, integrity, creativity and managerial competence.

But how do you show these attributes so that other people can see your leadership potential? Or if you’re a leader, what observable behaviors should you observe to know if someone can lead? Below are key behaviors you can emanate to communicate your aptitude.

Step Up And Take Ownership

Rather than arriving at a manager’s desk with a pile of problems, come with a stack of ideas. Before sharing frustrations or issues with others, consider all the ways you could move forward. Use your meeting with a superior to discuss, clarify thinking and sign-off on intentions.

Companies are always looking for proactive employees who are thinking of solutions instead of problems. When you step up, it shows that you are looking for more responsibility and that you’re ready.

On the other hand, if you make a mistake and take ownership of it, it shows that you’re trustworthy. Those are important characteristics a good leader must have. So start sharing your ideas to your boss – even if it feels like they’re not listening to your ideas. Keep pitching and proactively think of how you can help ease their responsibilities.

Seek Feedback

If you’re looking to be promoted as a leader, you must constantly seek feedback. Seek feedback about how you can improve your influence, communication skills, or confidence. Ask a trusted advisor to give you honest feedback so you can improve yourself.

When leaders around you know that you want to improve, they’ll expose you to opportunities where you can improve. Aside from that, they’ll be more open to directly or indirectly mentoring you.

Feedback isn’t something you should be afraid about. After all, once you become a leader, it’s something you’ll be giving freely. When you know how to ask and receive it, you can demonstrate it to others, especially your future subordinates.

Communicate Clearly

When you adopt a leadership role, clarity becomes essential. Whether you are delegating tasks, exchanging ideas or reporting on results, convey your message as precisely as possible.

Nonverbal communication also helps. In fact, in any communication, it’s the biggest factor. People can sense incongruence with your words and actions. Make sure that your message aligns with what you do and believe in. Use eye contact, hand gestures, and body language to emphasize key statements for greater impact.

Join A Professional Association

Get involved with a professional association in your industry by attending meetings, and networking events. Perhaps serve on the board if your schedule permits. Why? Because it communicates that you’re actively seeking opportunities to learn and lead. This is important because you want to inspire people to grow to their fullest potential, too.

Talk about what you learn from the association with your colleagues and encourage them to get involved, as well. You should be able to find several organizations by doing an internet search for your industry plus the term “professional association.”

In my experience, joining these associations boosted my leadership abilities. I came from buying my way into the board to actually being voted into it. My leadership turn-around story have always involved associations, so I know first-hand how it can help you.

Qualities of Potential Leaders

Here is a list of qualities potential leaders must emanate. These characteristics not only show that you’ll be a great leader, but it inspires trust and competence. At the end of the day, when other people put their trust in you, you are a leader – even without a title.


Also known as politeness, common courtesy is a good foundation of leadership. The ability to express your respect or gratitude by using words like “Please” and “Thank You” go a long way. People appreciate it when they get appreciated, even in small efforts. And showing that you have the courtesy to do that is the way to build strong relationships.

Think Positively And Proactively

When a project doesn’t go as planned, leaders don’t dwell on what went wrong. They also don’t get caught up in office politics or spend their lunch hour gossiping with the Negative Nellies. They proactively seek a solution.

Be sure to set a good example for your colleagues by being optimistic. People like to be around positive people. They want to be excited about their jobs so help create a positive, proactive atmosphere at the office.


It is for the simple reason that courage makes all other virtues possible. The best leaders are the most courageous leaders. They are able to constantly make difficult decisions and take necessary risks to achieve great things.

Without courage, nothing gets done. You will always doubt yourself and others. Because of that, your vision becomes unattainable and it’s hard for people to follow you. Leadership means taking responsibility, and you can only do that by cultivating courage.


A person’s commitment or will to do the right thing for the right reason, regardless of the circumstances, that’s integrity. Those who possess integrity are incorruptible. They are incapable of breaking the trust of those who believe and have confided in them. Choosing what’s right regardless of the consequences is the hallmark of a person with integrity.

Final Thoughts On Leadership Potential

You can be a respected leader among your workplace peers and within your industry without any direct reports at all. Leadership is about how people learn from you, seek your advice, and are inspired by you. You can lead without a title.

Look for solutions, don’t wait to be told what to do. Remember that you are in the driving seat of your career. I believe this empowered attitude is a cornerstone to what it takes to be an excellent leader.

If you want to get a free copy of my eBook, “The Ultimate Guide On How to Future-Proof Your Leadership Influence: Leadership Ethics, Professionalism, and Skills In The Post-Pandemic Era”, you can click here.