Great leaders today are successful and famous. That does not mean that people can not be great leaders in their office, community or town. The greatness of a leader depends to a large degree on how they treat their followers and everybody else they deal with on a daily basis. Natural talent and a mindset that overcomes setbacks also add a lot to the package.
Various leaders have defined the qualities that have made them great and in a nutshell, it can be distilled to at least these three:
This is not New Age mumbo-jumbo but a very important aspect of your ability to lead. You must know, or attempt to discover, your strengths and weaknesses in order to use the first effectively and improve the second. It is no good to try to be a “hail fellow, well met” person if you really are a “do what you are told” type.
These days personality tests and biometric assessments abound and you can very easily get an idea of what your leadership traits are. There is also a lot to be learned from the people who have “made” it – study their achievements and their legacy and decide whether that is the type of leader you would like to be, then emulate.
Of course you are not going to get it right the first time, all the time, but fortunately, nobody does. Just keep at it.
You can not respond to every situation in exactly the same way. Some decisions and plans will need forcefulness, others subtlety. Sometimes you need to think on your feet and at others, you need to stand back and contemplate. Learn to assess when your usual approach needs to be changed or adapted.
It seems a no-brainer that you also can not treat everybody the same all the time. People are complex and while one guy works best when he is pushed to the limits, the next one will break down.
Consider people’s current situations as well. The same go-getter may not deliver the work you have come to expect when his child is in hospital. A leader recognizes that people have ups and downs and treats them accordingly. You must know and understand the people around you in all their humanity.
A good leader identifies and adapts his management style to each of his team members. He coach, coax even probe to get the best out of individuals.
Honesty, integrity, and accountability
Yes, it’s a 3-in-1 trait. No matter in which sphere you look at the great leaders, they all have these three attributes and it shows in their work as well as their private lives. It is hard to avoid the white lie, saying no when it is going to cost you the project and to admit that you are the one who slipped up. Great leaders do these things because they know that it is much more important in the long run, to be honest, accountable, and to have a reputation for integrity.
Being a great leader takes hard work and awareness. Practice the principles that you would like to lead by every day and listen to feedback from the people who have your wellbeing at heart and you are bound to succeed.
What other traits do you think makes a great leader? Have you encountered anyone like that? Please do share your stories with us in the comments below.
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