Leadership qualities! Leaders may hold positions of rank, power or authority and try to force behaviors or actions in others. Yet, the real leaders are those who inspire action in others through their example and passion.
Unfortunately, positions of power and leadership in our society are more often than not occupied by the former rather than the later.
What makes great leaders in our businesses, communities, even in our own families, instead of relying on our size or rank?
5 essential leadership qualities that make a great leader
1. Leaders know themselves well
Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves. They begin by recognizing that they have a voice and a unique perspective to be shared with others. Great leaders possess a strong sense of personal responsibility for their lives, their actions, and their word.
2. Great leaders think outside the box
Inspiring and creating change in oneself and others requires flexibility, and a willingness to bend, shift and evolve when faced with new information. Effective leaders are innovative and encourage unconventional thinking in themselves and those they lead. They recognize that thinking outside the box is the best way to remain creative and responsive to constant and on-going change.
3. True leaders listen
We often see so-called leaders in our society – our politicians, business CEOs and managers, self-proclaimed gurus, and those in positions of authority – pontificating and telling others what they should be doing to make such and such happen.
But true leaders are often quiet. They ask questions, listen, and observe. Listening is a skill that requires practice and patience. Listening is even more important than asking the right questions or any other leadership skill.
4. Great leaders persevere
Another quiet and often hidden quality of truly great leaders is perseverance. Creating change, bringing innovation to the market, sparking progress, and leading others in times of adversity requires a commitment to one’s beliefs and ideas that is not easily shaken by the inevitable challenges and obstacles that arise.
5. Great leaders know their ‘why’
Great leaders understand that desired changes in behavior and actions will naturally occur in others when they feel inspired and passionate about something. And so, true leaders share their own passion for their beliefs or causes with others.
Having a strong, clear vision and passion for their cause means truly understanding the ‘why’ behind what they do. Whether in business, sales, politics or family relationships, knowing and sharing the passion of a clearly defined ‘why’ is critical.