While it’s commonly argued whether great leaders are born or made, there’s little doubt that great leaders share several characteristics. Leadership skills are among the most important to develop if you wish to advance your business. You’ll find that you already possess some of these qualities and likely need to develop the others.
Great leaders share these qualities:
- Lead by example. Effective leaders know that they can get the best out of others by setting a good example. If you want your team to be committed, positive, passionate, and involved, demonstrate those characteristics each day. What are you currently communicating to others by the example you set?
- Take responsibility. Ineffective leaders look to shift the blame when things start go wrong. A great leader, however, knows that setbacks occur. They also know that if failure occurs, it was his poor planning, vision, effort, or leadership that resulted in the poor results. Boy, this was a hard one for me! I will never forget having a conversation with my business coach and I was complaining about my team and the breakdowns that were occurring, he stopped me and told me to go look in the mirror and the person I saw looking back at me was the person responsible for the breakdowns! OUCH, that reality hurt yet was true!
- A great leader accepts responsibility for the outcome, both positive and negative.
- Vision. To lead effectively, a leader must know where they are headed. After all, you have to lead toa specific destination. Do you have a vision for the future and can you communicate that vision to others? Is your vision clear and easy to understand? Is your vision focused? Do you know where you are going? Lastly, have you shared your vision with your team? Breathe life into your vision.
- A plan. You might know where you’re going, but do you know how to get there? Can you effectively share that plan with the members of your team? Is your plan believable and achievable? I work with my coaching clients to strategize a plan of action, with actionable steps and accountabilities along the way.
- Great communication skills. The ability to share your vision and your plan are paramount to success. Effective leaders are excellent communicators and work to enhance their communication skills further. Remember there are many ways we communicate with our team; it is not just about the spoken word. Verbal, non-verbal and listening, yes even listening skills are a form of communication!
- Motivator. It’s been said that one skill needed by great leaders is the ability to inflict pain on team members and get away with it. Impressive future results require sacrifice and discomfort in the present. Are you able to inspire people enough that they’ll continue to follow you instead of revolting against you? There are those that walk into a room and the room is instantly brighter and then there are those the walk in a room and it instantly becomes doom and glum. A great leader walks in and lights up the room no matter what may be happening personally.
- Know how to develop others. It’s important to develop others to become better leaders. A great leader takes the time to develop the skills of the team. The more capable your team, the more impressive the results you will ultimately attain. As a great leader it is your responsibility to develop leaders in your organization
- Inspire confidence in others. If people do not believe they will be successful, you won’t receive their best efforts. Hold the space of confidence for each team member until they can hold it for themselves. You be the cheerleader for them and instill confidence in your team.
- Integrity. Team members have to believe and trust in their leader. Can your team believe what you say? Do your team members trust that you’re fully committed to the project and to them? Without integrity, no one will trust you enough to commit and engage with your plans. This is where the tongue in your mouth and the tongue in your shoe need to be going in the same direction.
- Can deal with chaos. Chaos is inevitable when working on projects with people. Things often go wrong. Team members have personal issues. There’s always someone disgruntled. Plans change. The objective can change.
- A great leader knows how to calmly and purposefully deal with the unexpected and guide others through the resulting distractions. Sometimes slow is fast and fast is slow, pause for the cause when necessary.
How many of these 10 characteristics do you possess? Are you willing to develop those qualities that you lack? Great leaders have several qualities in common that you can learn and apply to enhance your leadership skills.Review these qualities and look for ways to further develop your leadership abilities.