“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
It is often said that a great leader is simply born that way; that it takes an instinctively assertive person to lead a group of people to success. However, not all leaders are necessarily assertive. Respected and successful leaders have many things in common, and these traits make it easy to identify the truly innovative and inspiring trailblazers from the rest of the pack.
Leadership can have many different faces. What some see as focused others see as see as ruthless. Take Arnold Schwarzenegger as an example. He’s had an amazing body building career, literally turning the tables on bodybuilding industry and has inspired millions of people with his dedication, commitment to details and a focus the world rarely had seen. Now to some this level of “hunger” for winning could be misconstrued as addiction at all cost, so the key to any leader is connection to the people they are leading.
See getting to know your “tribe” ( people that you are leading and believe in you) and the reverse of them getting to know you pays off dividends, be it the good , bad or the ugly. Old school leadership really looked like a dictatorship rather than leadership. Where it felt like “enter at your own risk” if you had a question or suggestion for that leader. The truth of the matter is that today the plateau has changed to less hierarchical style leadership to that practiced by a co op ( good for one good for all ) style approach. Gone are the days of militaristic I say and you do leadership. Which leads me to the 6 traits I believe leaders need to posses in order to be effective.
The buck stops at you, not any of the staff you are leading, not the environment – nothing JUST YOU. You are the leader and the responsibility when you have made mistakes that have caused major upset OR a victory that has been amazing, taking extreme ownership for your actions is paramount.
To be a great leader, first and foremost, mutual trust between you and your team is essential. Nobody is going to give their all for a leader who can’t be forthright with the information, or fails to keep up their end of a deal. Honesty is a critical trait of a great leader, and it earns respect from those who are working with you to achieve your vision.
A great leader is never afraid to innovate and experiment, whether right or wrong, and take a chance on a new idea. Likewise, a great leader never relies on their team to do the innovating, claiming ownership of only the successful ideas. The willingness to explore and innovate separates the truly great leaders from those who are simply going through the motions in their day to day life.
A supportive work environment is conducive to a successful one. The role of a leader is to support their team through the tests and triumphs, and provide others with the means and opportunities to succeed. A great leader offers support in many forms, whether it’s training, reviews, honest discussions, or simply giving the freedom to allow others to succeed.
In addition to being a supportive leader, one must be seen as approachable. If you want to lead the pack successfully, it’s best to keep your humility in check. A great leader is one who is available (not just says they are), and not afraid to own their mistakes when they occur.
You’re only as great as the team you work with, so it’s essential you have confidence in the people you have chosen to achieve your goals. This can be a hard one for people to grasp, as there are many perfectionists among us. However, a great leader knows, and trusts, when it’s time to pass the baton and allow others the chance to shine. You will be left with very little time in your day if you insist on taking on each and every task that comes your way.
At the end of the day the key to effective leadership is commitment to the cause, being the first on and the last off the battlefield and clear communication to everyone around you knowing that most importantly you are a human being leading other human beings.
If you are looking to really empower your team and learning what it takes to be an effective leadership and want help, don’t hesitate to connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org