7 Attributes of Great Leaders
When you make the decision to step into a leadership role there are many theories you can follow or study about how to best lead others. But regardless of the leadership development training you decide to follow there are a few attributes that all great leaders share. With the right blend of attributes, you can thrive within any leadership development program. You first have to work on developing these in yourself and then lead by example as you work to help develop other leaders you identify in your organization.
Ideas are easy. It’s the execution that’s so challenging. Big ideas require multiple people to bring them to life. Leadership is all about getting everyone on the same page and moving them in the same direction.
One of the best books I ever read on this subject is called: Influence without Authority. Don’t confuse being the boss with being the leader– anyone at any level of an organization can be a leader. As I said – it’s about getting everyone on the same page and moving them in the same direction.
Consider developing these common qualities that will enhance your leadership ability:
- The first is Confidence. Confident people inspire confidence in others. When your team sees your confidence, they believe that you know where you’re going and how to get there. Confidence is contagious and elevates morale. No one else will be confident if you’re not.
- Keep up morale by dealing with setbacks confidently.
- Confidence is not an I know everything and you know nothing approach it just means you aren’t intimidated by any situation
- Confidence is being comfortable asking and actively listening to others' thoughts and opinions then taking that information and making a decision on a path forward.
- The second is Trustworthiness. One of the most important attributes of a great leader is character. People need to trust you before they will follow you. This is accomplished through honesty, walking the talk, and showing respect. Keep your word and follow through.
- It’s challenging for a team to accomplish anything without trust.
- Trust also comes from admitting when you make a mistake – a leader isn’t perfect. You will screw up - Own up to it quickly and decide on a new path.
- The third is Enthusiasm. Be enthusiastic about the task at hand, your position, and the opportunity to lead. No one will be more enthusiastic than you are. Demonstrate the type of enthusiasm you’d like to see in your team members. Let everyone know that you believe in your mission and its importance.
- Sometimes a break is in order. Enthusiasm can wane under a never-ending workload.
- Enthusiasm isn’t about being a cheerleader or being loud – don’t try to change your personality but you must show genuine interest in the task – people can tell if you are faking it.
- There will be obstacles and times of uncertainty. Great leaders can weather these situations and demonstrate the steadiness necessary to keep the rest of the team focused. These are the times your team will look to you the most. Be positive. Be confident. Be a rock.
- It’s natural to have doubts. It’s not effective to share them. If you need someone to talk to, reach out to your spouse or best friend or a mentor. Keep all negativity out of the workplace.
- As the leader you are your teams shield -
- It’s easy to become distracted, especially when things start going wrong. Learn to ignore the noise and stick to the relevant facts. Avoid looking too far ahead. Deal with the current situation and maintain your commitment.
- Focus can begin to creep in when projects drag on for an extended period of time. Return to your mission statement frequently to keep your focus fresh. Remember the why related to the task or project – review it often.
- Nearly anyone can hold the course, but only a great leader can change course without tipping over the ship. Be open-minded enough to find the elegant solution to the challenges that will arise. A few course corrections are the rule rather than the exception.
- Avoid confusing steadfastness with stubbornness. It’s important to realize when it’s time to make some changes.
- If you are traveling – detours may change your path but they don’t change your goal destination.
- Work hard to effectively communicate your vision to the others in your group. Be willing to listen to new ideas. Provide the information required for others to do their best. Communication skills are paramount to all leaders. If you’re looking for a single skill to enhance, this is a great place to start.
Regardless of the leadership strategy followed in your company, focusing on these attributes will serve you well. Great leaders share many of the same attributes. Learning to demonstrate these attributes will enhance your leadership abilities and increase your power and influence at work.
Just keep in mind Leadership skills can’t be learned and developed in a day. Bringing an idea into the marketplace requires a leader. Make yourself the obvious candidate.
I hope this information helps you become the leader you want to be and to help you develop the leadership skills in others.
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