Just because you’re at the head of the table doesn’t mean you’re a leader. There’s a clear difference between a leader and a manager. I agree with Travis Bradberry when he says “you’re not a leader just because you have people reporting to you. And you don’t suddenly become a leader once you reach a certain pay grade.” So it’s time you lose that feeling of entitlement and ask yourself “how do I score in the leadership litmus test?”

To find out, answer these questions.

Are You Aware of Your Behavior?

Being a leader requires you to be a role model. To be a role model, you must be aware of your actions and behaviors. And that means you’ll always have to be on your toes ensuring your mannerism reflects qualities that inspires people to emulate you (if not go beyond). Irrespective where you are, be it at home or office, people should always see you as a role model. So don’t be shy to ask yourself every now and then: “am I doing the right thing?” That’s a good way to ensure you’re ‘walking the walk’ before you expect the same of others.

Also, by being aware of your behavior you’re not just managing people to perform their duties. You’re actually inspiring them to alter their own behavior. The greater impact here is that you’re helping people alter their behavior to aim higher, widen their aspirations and restlessly push their limits to achieve more.

Are You Positive to Your Core?

I’ve often come across people who spend too much time pondering on ‘what could have been’. To them I say, “It’s over. Learn from it. Move on.” You can’t keep dwelling in the past. There are also those who love to keep highlighting problems but seldom do they have solutions. It’s easy to crib but after a while you’re seen as the company ‘cry-baby’.

A true sign of a leader is their ability to see the positive (in everything)! It may seem like that’s practically impossible, but leaders will hunt and find light during the darkest of times. If you’re able to learn from mistakes, find opportunities in gaps and losses and can drive people towards positivity, you will pass this leadership litmus test.

Are You Generous and Selfless?

Your first response to this would be sure I’m charitable. This leadership litmus test isn’t about how benevolent you are. It’s a test of your ability to share knowledge and vision. Knowing when to take a step back and let things evolve with little or no involvement from you. Being open to suggestions and ideas from people around you. This is the test that confirms you’re not gunning for self-glorification.

A selfless act you do as a leader wins you credibility and earns you respect. It’s truly being at the level of self-actualization where you’re more concerned about the bigger picture than your personal victories. Sure you’ll win too, when your team and your organization wins. But that’s not what drives you. And if all this sounds like you, it’s most likely because you passed this Leadership litmus test as well.

For some of you passing the Leadership Litmus Test will suggest you’re on track to become a great leader with the added attributes and traits that define a ‘good leader’. For others the result may be short of this. But believe me your dreams to be a leader aren’t over yet. All of these are learnable skills and once you’ve polished them I’m certain the result of the Leadership Litmus Test will be more favorable.