When it comes to business leadership capability, the question of nature versus nurture has been around for a long time. No one has yet come up with a satisfactory answer to whether leaders are born or made, whether those with particular character traits have a predisposition to lead, or whether training along the way will help. However, the majority of research seems to suggest that although certain people exhibit a greater inclination towards leadership, those to whom it does not come naturally can also learn to become better leaders. The first step to this end seems to be a certain degree of introspection, particularly evaluating where you are by asking yourself certain questions. Here are 8 questions that should set any leader thinking, and meant to act as starting points for a leader’s journey towards greatness. #1. Do you have a clear vision of the future that you are leading your team towards? Being a good leader means understanding what all this work is leading up to, as well as how to get there. It means safeguarding that future through any means necessary. The most effective leaders are able to successfully balance the vision of the future with the cold, hard reality of the present, bringing the latter closer to the former, one step at a time. From something as simple as starting a business blog to deciding whether to procure or make product components – it requires VISION to make the right choice. As a leader, you create your vision for a future that is brighter, bigger, and better in every way, are willing to protect it at all costs from any kind of attack, and know where to go in order to bring that future into the present, one step at a time. #2. Can you identify the specific goals required to go from where you are to where you want to get? The vision stated earlier is usually a fairly idealistic concept, but the goals required to reach them are simpler and far more manageable. They are practical and easier to understand. Therefore, a leader must not only see the big picture but also all the specific actions and tasks that go into them, by diving the grand future into smaller goals. It’s not just about what must be done, but how to get it done. When winning is a must, leadership get tested in every way, some expected and some that will blindside you, so brace up. When that vision we were talking about is first created, it will probably seem grandiose and unrealistic, and often completely attainable. Write down your goals, because written down aims are often far more likely to be achieved than those that have just been thought about. Each of them will be a building block to success. #3. Do you stick with the status quo, or pursue change for better results? Initiative and dynamic thinking, and skill for change management are three qualities that a leader must have. One thing that no good leader has ever said is, ‘We can’t do this, because we haven’t done it that way before’. Challenging the status quo is a way of life for a true leader: sometime’s, the way things are isn’t the best way for them to be. #4. How good are your communication skills and do you work towards improving them? Communication, conscious and constant, is a way of life for every true leader. They know what questions to ask, and, more importantly, they know how to listen and how to elicit the answers that they need. They never assume that they’ve understood, and therefore avoid misunderstandings. They test their understanding by asking more questions, and rephrasing what they have heard. #5. What kind of attitude do you have and project? Attitude is everything. A positive attitude is contagious in all the right ways, while a negative one is the same in all the wrong ones. A leader is motivating, never gives up, and knows how to keep things positive. They also work on developing the potential for leadership that they see in others, know how to learn from every mistake made, and how to appreciate good performance. #6. Do you read to learn, and learn to implement? It’s been said that many leaders who effect real change are voracious readers as well. But they don’t read just for the sake of reading: they read in order to learn, in order to get fresh ideas and innovate, and apply the newest thoughts to their own work and field. What you read is important, but far more important is how you apply what you have learnt, and what changes you will be able to bring about as a result. #7. Is your power creating fear? Many studies have talked about leadership and power. Leaders have always been told that as their task is so different from that of the people they lead, they have more power, and it is quite interesting how often that power is related to fear. A good leader does their best to create a work environment that is not driven by fear, because employees who do what they are told just because they’re scared of getting fired are unlikely to be passionate about their work. That can make a big difference. Don’t throw your power around, instead focusing on your ability to influence the people you work with and rally the workforce to the cause, so to speak. #8. Do you facilitate dialog? Focus on building trust, opening up dialog, being specific at all times, and keeping an open mind. People are always so concerned with pronunciation and enunciation, with grammar and syntax that they sometimes forget that it is the more subtle elements of communication that really count – and those are the ones that every true leader is able to master. 80% of business process bottlenecks result from lack of collaboration and communication, and overcoming these requires a leader who can facilitate both. Images: “LEADERSHIP word cloud, business concept/Shutterstock.com“ ________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.