Whether great leaders are born or made remains a hot topic of discussion, one thing that cannot be argued away is that they all share several characteristics.
Leadership skills are some of the most important skills to develop if you want to improve your career.
You might already have some of these qualities, but are likely need to develop some others.
Outstanding leaders share most of the following qualities:
- They lead by example. Good leaders know they will get the best from others by setting the right example. If you want others to be dedicated, positive, passionate and involved, demonstrate those characteristics every day. Don’t tell them to be on time but be late yourself. What are you communicating by the example you set?
- They take responsibility. Lousy leaders shift the blame when things go belly up. Economists are great at this. A great leader, however, knows that things go wrong and when that happens, they take responsibility by accepting it was their poor planning, a lack of vision, not enough effort or not strong enough leadership that caused the poor results.
- Great leaders accept responsibility for the outcome – not only when it is positive, but also when things go wrong.
- They have vision. To be an effective leader, a leader must know where they’re headed. Just like travelling somewhere, you have to lead to something specific. Make sure you have a vision for the future and that you communicate it to others. Is your vision clear and easy to understand? Is it focused? Do you know in which direction you are steering? Do your followers know where you’re going?
- They have a plan. You might be sure of where you’re going, but like a pilot on his way to a new destination, do you know how to get there? Are you able to effectively share that with the members of your team? Is it believable? Can it be done?
- They have great communication skills. The ability to share your vision and your plan in a clear way to others are paramount to success. Effective leaders are excellent communicators and work to enhance their communication skills further. Look at joining organizations like Toastmasters.
- They are motivators. One skill all great leaders need, is the ability to cause pain to team members, but get away with it. No pain, no gain. Impressive goals require some form of sacrifice and discomfort in the present. Great leaders are able to inspire people enough so that they will continue following them instead of revolting.
- They know how to improve others. It is important to improve others to become leaders themselves. Great leaders take time to develop the skills of their followers. The better their followers, the better the results.
- They inspire confidence in their followers. If people don’t believe you are or will be successful in what you are leading them to, they won’t give their best.
- They have integrity. Followers have to believe and trust their leader. Can your team believe what you say? Do they trust that you are as committed to the project and to them as you expect them to be? Integrity is doing the right thing even when no-one is looking. Without that, no-one will trust you to be committed and they will not engage.
- Great leaders know how to deal with chaos. Chaos is part and parcel of big projects involving a lot of people. Things do go wrong. Team members have personal issues. There’s always someone disgruntled. Plans change. Life happens. Even objectives can change.
- Great leaders expect the unexpected and know how to quietly and calmly and purposefully deal with it while guiding others through the resulting distractions.
Do you have any of these 10 characteristics? How many? And are you willing to develop the ones you don’t have?
Great leaders have several of these qualities in common, but you can learn and apply each of them to improve your leadership skills.
Study these qualities and find ways to develop the leadership abilities you have, and make work of the ones you don’t.
Become The Leader You’ve Always Wanted To Be
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