Most of us have been or desire to be leaders. But you may find that some people are better leaders than other. Here are some important characteristics that make great leaders, and you can take these into account to build your leadership skills.
Being able to listen is one of the most crucial skills as a leader. If you never check with those you lead, how can you know that you’re leading them in the right direction? Taking the time to talk with people about their ideas as well can not only help your trajectory, but it also shows them that their opinions are valued. Listening can make all the difference in your leadership.
Going along with listening, it is also imperative to accept criticism. Not everyone will agree that where or how you’re leading is the best. Being able to understand people’s concerns will only help you grow. You’ll either be able to justify and convince them of your position, or you may see a completely different side that you had never considered. Criticism can be your best leadership development tool if you listen closely.
Don’t get complacent. Once you’ve established your leadership, take initiative to accept more challenges. Being a leader is all about taking on challenges and acting as the driving force to overcome and conquer those challenges. If you aren’t leading your team through new challenges, someone else will.
It’s not enough to have been a leader in the past. You have to want it. You have to desire to be a leader. If you don’t want to be a leader, no one will force you. They’ll look to the person who takes the reins after you let go of them. You have to want to set the example, overcome challenges, and help others overcome them as well.
Once you’re a leader, you have to work hard. Leadership is never easy, and sometimes you’ll have to make some hard decisions. More often than not, you’ll be making hard decisions. Sometimes people won’t even know of them, or may not think of them as the hard decisions, but you will know. It can get a little overwhelming, but don’t stop grinding away for the people you’re leading.
One of the key factors in determining a leader is how well they inspire. Being a leader doesn’t mean you’re always telling people what to do. A mark of a great leader is their ability to inspire action. It’s always better if people take action on their own rather than having to be told. You motivate your people to be better, to take certain actions, and ultimately follow your leadership.
A leader doesn’t brag about what they have done. A leader brags on those that have done other things. Don’t sweep the things you do under the rug, but don’t shout them from the rooftop either. Make sure that you acknowledge what other people have done first. Always stay humble, the top already has enough people whose heads wouldn’t fit through a doorway.
This goes along with inspiration, but deserves further explanation. Encouragement is so important when you lead others. While some will do things of their own accord, others will need to be motivated. Encouraging people to do things that will make them better will strengthen those around you. And a leader is only as strong as those around. Leadership is about developing others just as much as yourself.
A true leader has to be ready to accept the failures or triumphs. When failure happens, it’s important to stay positive and take the majority of the failure. When you’re triumphant, make sure to recognize the others involved more than yourself. Ownership will come into play with humbleness because you must be humble enough to accept defeat and successes in the same stride.
You may not think that anyone is paying attention, but if you’re a true leader, someone always is. You’re setting the example for a team, company, etc. You have to be aware at all times that your actions have consequences. It can be hard to always do the right thing, but a leader at heart always knows the right thing to do in tough situations. Show high integrity and that will inspire others to show the same.
Written by: Sarah Poore