Six Traits of Great LeadersDecember, 12 2012
The best leaders are passionate, innovative, demanding, and caring. They have a clear vision and can turn it into a vivid picture others can see. Inspiring a team to follow you isn’t about tight control or even about money. It’s about leadership. We’ve talked before about leadership traits not to employ, but what makes a great leader?
Erika Andersen of Inc. recently wrote an article about six characteristics people look for in deciding on whether to align around a leader. She says, “The most successful entrepreneurs I know recognize they have two jobs: Build the business and lead the people. Even if you have a few employees, it’s important to be a leader to whom they’ll commit.”
Andersen says being far-sighted means you share and see a clear and compelling vision of the future. These leaders have the ability to articulate a successful future in a compelling and inclusive way. Leaders who have this trait see past obstacles and focus on the future.
Leaders who are passionate know what they stand for, but are open to hearing concerns of their team. They are “committed without being dogmatic,” says Andersen. They are able to make it clear to everyone what is important and what is not.
Courageous leaders make tough decisions in risky and/or uncomfortable situations. If they make a bad decision, they don’t make any excuses. They take full responsibility, admit mistakes, apologize, and work to fix what is wrong, says Andersen.
Wisdom is critical to good leadership. “Being wise means you combine curiosity with objectivity,” says Andersen. A leader leans wisdom from their personal experience of success and failure, and from the insight of other leaders.
Generous leaders aren’t naive, they are confident. They believe in their team, give balanced feedback, share credit, and teach what they know, says Andersen. It’s a trait that needs to be fostered, but a person who is generous makes a great leader.
Trust is essential to developing relationships with individuals. Leaders who can’t inspire trust, can’t lead. “Being trustworthy makes you a rock and a haven for your followers,” Andersen says.
To become a great leader, the key is to serve your team and put them first. When you do, you’ll receive their loyalty and hard work.
What did we miss? What are some traits you have seen in great leaders?
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