What you will learn from reading this article:
- What sets a great leader apart from a mediocre one
- The 10 qualities that all great leaders share
- How to incorporate these qualities into your own leadership style
- How to embody authenticity and gain the credibility you need to lead by example
- How to break through the story of impossibility, and create, real lasting change in others
Extraordinary leaders inspire, but just how do they do it? What sets a good leader apart from a mediocre one? An extraordinary leader is a person that has learned how to influence people, including their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Oprah are just a few examples.
Here we’ll cover the 10 essential qualities that all excellent leaders share. We’ll also cover how to influence people and enhance your own leadership qualities, no matter what situation you are in.
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1. Extraordinary hunger and drive
Hunger and drive mark a leader apart from a follower. Leaders have an insatiable hunger to make something happen; they must do, create and share. This drive is the force that makes them unstoppable. Through their drive, they discover how to influence people and the culture around them.
If you study great leaders in history, you’ll see they get their hunger from a variety of places, but often it comes from something that was missing in their lives. You’ll also find their willingness to confront authority. These are people who confront the status quo, not simply conform to it. So how to influence people? Anything that intensifies the hunger and drive within you will make you a more powerful leader. The greatest hunger is to serve something greater than yourself, which leads us to the next quality.
2. Exceptional and compelling vision
Small visions have no power to inspire or move people. Small visions will never empower you to use all of your abilities and potential. Instead of influencing people, you’ll be fighting for their attention. This is why great leaders always have a vision larger than themselves.
To really stand out, your vision needs to capture and grab the hearts, minds and energies of a significant number of people. It’s the story of how life can be made better for some group of people, customers, a gender, a race, a country – there must be something that makes people want to bring their resources to the table and contribute their energy to achieving that vision. When you have a specific purpose that benefits those around you, others will be drawn in to help you reach your goal.
3. Absolute certainty
A leader always has an absolute core belief that what they’ve envisioned they can make real. There is true power in belief. Certainty is what shapes human beings; it’s one of our six human needs. Certainty is also a crucial component in how to influence people. What kills anybody’s capacity to lead is uncertainty.
Think about good leaders you’ve seen in action, maybe at work or in your community. Their passion is infectious, right? You’ve never seen an incredible leader say to their team, “I’m not sure we can make this work” or “Maybe I’m not the right person to do this job.” An incredible leader engages those around them by acting with complete certainty.
4. Passionate and effective communicator
This concept is perhaps the most important thing that Tony teaches: To influence other people, you must know what already influences them. That’s how to influence people and make real change. You’ve got to understand who your audience is and how to reach that particular audience. Your passion brings the energy; your effectiveness comes from knowing who your audience is and how to speak to them in a way that moves them. Everyone is moved in different ways, so getting this right is crucial.
Passionate communication is also the only way you’ll be able to bring the energy to inspire people to do something beyond the norm, to do something extraordinary.
5. Brilliant strategists
Extraordinary leaders have figured out a strategy, a system, a way to get from where they are to where they want to be to make their vision real. If they aren’t strategists by nature — and they exist — they know how to recognize a strategy that’s effective.
Leaders are strategic in their communication style and messaging. They’re strategic in how to get the job done and how to work with a variety of people. They know they need a strategy for what they’re doing and a strategy for communicating. So you’ve got to know when to give and when to demand, when to talk and when to be quiet and listen. As much as developing strategies is about creating an action plan, it’s also about understanding when your team needs to recharge. When you’re creating strategies as a leader, never be afraid to reevaluate what you’re doing.
6. Ability to care, connect and break patterns
The best way to make change is to break the current pattern. Leaders know this and use the same principle to challenge people, though how they challenge people varies. Some leaders use humor to break patterns. Some do it by listening more and being empathetic.
This skill is vital because as a leader,you’re going to come up against someone or some group that’s going to try and stop your progress. Being able to break their pattern and redirect their efforts means you’ll be able to keep going strong.
7. Unreasonable expectations and standards
Think of it this way: leaders set a standard of unreasonable expectations. The only way something revolutionary happens is when someone won’t settle. We all get what we tolerate. So leaders, those influencing people, create a culture where people live differently.
Perhaps the biggest difference between a manager and a leader is that a manager gets people to do things by supervising them. A leader inspires people to a new standard; even when the leader isn’t there, people still live by these new rules because it’s become their standard, too. Unreasonable expectations change the world – leaders have higher standards, and they live by them. This type of thinking can lead to innovation, which is what all incredible leaders should aim for if they hope to create real, lasting change.
8. Courage and faith to act
Having courage means you’re afraid of a task and you do it anyway, and having faith means you’re able to work toward a challenging goal because you believe it serves a greater good. Leaders have the ability to tap into both.
Think about the difference between fear and faith. They’re both made up ideas. Fear is just undirected imagination. Faith is imagination directed consciously for the greater good. Extraordinary leaders understand this concept. They have the courage to act and take risks along with the faith that somehow, even when something seems challenging, they’ll have the courage to get back up after they failed.
9. Insanely persistent, yet flexible, in their approach
All great leaders continue to learn with every interaction and every experience. They never turn off that capacity for adapting to new environments or developing new skills. There’s something inside them that hungers to know all they can know to be able to master something that’s related to their vision. It’s an incredible level of persistence.
But persistence doesn’t mean being immovable. Leaders are flexible so they can make a change when something isn’t working. Failure won’t seem to stop them; they’ve failed before and always learn from it. Think of it this way: You persist for the outcome, but you flex your approach towards that goal.
10. Authentic and congruent
Last, but not least, is that a true leader leads by example. They walk their talk. You must have authenticity to create credibility and influence others. Without credibility, no one can lead.
All great leaders have stories of possibility instead of impossibility. People who tell the story of impossibility, the story of not being able to achieve something? They’re not influencing people; they’re not leaders. They’ve already given up.
Leaders change the state of others, and the world around them, by telling an effective story, inspiring others with their vision and putting their plans into action.
Create your own extraordinary breakthrough
Ready to discover how to embody authenticity and create lasting change in others in the leadership role you’re destined for? Read Tony Robbins’ Awaken the Giant e-book to begin your transformation today.