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8 basic leadership qualities
What makes a good leader?
All leaders are different, and finding out what kind of leader you are can help you take your skills to the next level. Whether you’re responsible for leading a Fortune 500 company or simply striving to view yourself as a leader as you work to attain your personal goals, developing good leadership qualities is absolutely essential to your success. Honing excellent leadership traits helps you surmount obstacles, take risks and find ways to live joyfully and thrive even during the most challenging times.
Many people believe that if they aren’t displaying the stereotypical leadership traits like being outspoken, they’ll never possess excellent leadership attributes. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Don’t hold yourself back thinking that the potential for leadership is something you have or don’t. Limiting beliefs of this nature keep you from your full potential and exist only in your head. When you focus on and visualize what you want to be rather than what holds you back, you harness the power of acquiring and utilizing excellent leadership qualities.
Vital leadership qualities
Leadership isn’t something people are born with – it’s a skill that can be cultivated over time. Here are eight basic leadership qualities that everyone can refine in order to be a more productive leader:
True leaders are confident and know they can think – and act – outside the box to take their companies to the next level. They know that leadership qualities like openness, emotional agility and resourcefulness are often more important leadership attributes than being able to make a sale or wow a group of investors.
How does one display the confidence necessary to be a good leader? More than half of human communication comes from nonverbal cues. Know how to set the right tone as a leader by letting your confidence show. Confident leaders win over and inspire others because everyone else wants to embody confidence, too. Practice strong non-verbal communication by standing tall, making eye contact and learning to control your fidgeting. When you appear confident – even if you don’t actually feel confident – others will be more likely to follow your lead and believe in your authority.
Have you learned how to really focus in on what you want? Those who embody strong leadership qualities keep their eye on the prize. They are very organized and plan well ahead while still remaining spontaneous enough to handle unexpected challenges. Like a grandmaster in a chess game, a good leader thinks out each strategy and understands how each of his or her actions will affect the rest of any given scenario.
Distractions can be one of your biggest business saboteurs, but those who display strong leadership traits don’t let them intrude. This is one of the key leadership strengths because, as Tony always says, where focus goes, energy flows. Limit distractions by creating an environment that is conducive to focus. For example, your office can have an open door policy between certain hours so your team can freely communicate, but make it known that you will not be as available during your “focus times.” This helps you get deeper into your work without having to deal with the many moving parts of your business.
Keep your endgame in sight by cultivating your ability to focus. Having a clear purpose allows you to not only achieve your goals, but to lead teams of people to success as well.
Many people believe that successful business and political leaders are inherently dishonest, but the good leaders treat others just as they expect to be treated – in an honest fashion. Being honest is not only one of the leadership traits that will allow you to lead your business with integrity, but it’s the only real way to make strong connections with others. Whether you’re trying to lead your business or your family, the truth is that every single person you interact with looks to your own honesty and code of ethics to set his or her own bar. Make sure each member of your team or household knows what your culture and core expectations are, and show them how much you value honesty in your everyday interactions with others through setting a valuable example. Don’t sugarcoat information, but find a way to deliver honest comments and feedback in a direct and compassionate manner.
One of the leadership attributes of truly great leaders is the sense of abundant positivity that energizes everyone around them. It’s not that they never have moments of frustration or disappointment, but that they’re able to take a positive approach to tackle challenging issues. Inspiring leaders know how to turn setbacks into successes and make a point to display optimistic leadership traits on a daily basis. Choose empowering beliefs that will propel you forward, not negative thought patterns that will weigh you down. Seeing challenges as opportunities rather than obstacles is one of the most important leadership qualities you can display to your teammates. When you practice positive thinking, it becomes your powerful cognitive habit and allows you to reassure and elevate those around you.
Every single person in a leadership role of any kind sometimes has to make difficult decisions and how you handle these decisions is one of the most important leadership qualities. The ability to be decisive can mean the difference between getting through a tough time or crisis and folding under pressure. Making these kinds of calls doesn’t always mean you will be well-loved, but when you use good judgment to make decisions, it will earn you the respect of others. Even if you make a wrong decision and need to correct it, showing decisiveness during tough times is a better leadership quality than waiting around for something to happen or letting others make the decision for you. A good leader is one who makes the decision that is right, not the decision that is easy.
6. Ability to inspire
We all bring natural gifts to our careers. Discovering what your natural leadership traits are is an excellent way to inspire others to also find their own strengths. One of the secrets to wild success is honing your leadership vision and communicating it to others. Inspiration is what pushes people to plow through difficult times – and to work on achieving their goals even when times are simple and undemanding. You define yourself with your identity, or in business, your brand. Refocus and sharpen your identity often so you will inspire those on your team.
7. Good communication
Knowing your team’s – and your own – communication styles is one of the leadership traits that will strengthen your business the most. Great leaders don’t just communicate information to their team – they also know how to communicate goals and their vision to get their team excited.
You can’t underestimate the power of words. The best leaders know that words transform emotions and lead to breakthroughs. Like many important leadership qualities, being a good communicator is often more about what you don’t do than what you do. Effective communication often means closing your mouth and opening your ears. Deep listening and asking thoughtful questions shows that you care about your employees’ contributions.
As a leader, you’re going to make mistakes. While handling them with positivity and a growth mindset is one of the key leadership strengths you need to possess, you must also take responsibility for those mistakes. Blaming others, justifying your actions or pretending like mistakes never happened erodes trust among your team and will discourage them from being accountable for their own mistakes. Great leaders take more than their share of blame and less than their share of credit, which creates a culture of trust and humility. When you’re accountable, you can also hold your team accountable for their actions, ultimately creating a sense of responsibility that will keep them continually striving for their personal – and your business’ – goals.
The best leaders have a clear sense of purpose and are able to take their teams in the right direction. Additionally, as they lead their group, they utilize strong leadership qualities to create a supportive sense of community for all who are involved. Becoming an empowering leader is about not only creating something that’s better for the group, but encouraging those around you to embrace their strong leadership attributes as well.
There are different types of leaders. Accepting that your leadership style is unique to your set of skills, and then working to cultivate your leadership abilities, is the best way to become the leader you need to be to reach massive success.