There is a great debate that goes on and on about are great leaders born or made? I happen to not engage in the debate and lean more to let's just "see what happens." The job is the only way to know for sure. I have coached, mentored, promoted, and hired many leaders. I have also seen many fail, quit, and even fired a bunch. I have also seen uncut gems of people excel in ways i would have never predicted. What I have learned, previously successful individuals with the following 10 traits seems to be a set of success predictors. Then the job and your team will determine the rest.
It’s not easy to be a great leader. Leadership requires a unique set of skills and personality traits. Few people are born great leaders, but everyone can maximize their leadership skills and qualities.
Many of us want to be better leaders, but don’t know where to start. There are many great books on leadership skills, but the effectiveness of skills is limited without the proper personality to execute those skills.
Develop these leadership traits and be off to a good start to a great leader:
1. Boldness. Being a great leader takes guts. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to shoulder the blame for bad decisions and results. You need to set the course for your people. You’ll get most of the credit when things go well, but you must be strong enough to take the brunt of the negative attention for poor outcomes.
2. Assertiveness. You can’t be timid and be a great leader. You have to assertively share your ideas and opinions. You have to be able to tell people “no” and to give bad news. If you tend to be passive, your ability to lead is compromised.
3. Confidence. Confidence is intoxicating. People are willing to follow you if you’re confident. If you show that you don’t trust yourself or your decisions, they won’t trust you either. Being confident fosters confidence in others. Everyone is always watching you.
4. Emotional Stability. When you lead others, there are many ups and downs. You don’t have the luxury of feeling depressed, frustrated, or disgruntled. It’s your responsibility to keep your emotions under control and lead the way.
5. Tenacity. You can never give up. Persistence is one of the most important qualities a great leader can have. This trait goes along with emotional stability. Are you able to stick with your plan when things are going wrong? Do you double your efforts when faced with an obstacle, or does your will falter?
6. Inspirational. Leaders lead. If you can’t inspire others to follow you, intimidation is the only alternative. Learn how to inspire others to do their best and to demonstrate loyalty to you.
7. Humility. It can be challenging to be a confident leader and be humble at the same time. While arrogant people often rise to leadership positions, few of them thrive in those roles. Arrogance leads to poor decisions and causes your followers to both distrust and dislike you.
8. Dealing with complexity. When you’re leading a large group of people, things are complex. Every decision seems to affect everything else. Circumstances are constantly changing, and it’s challenging to deal with the complexity that arises.
9. Charisma. Charisma is a little hard to define, but everyone knows it when they see it. It’s form of charm that inspires others to like and follow you. The most charismatic people are confident, make others feel good about themselves, and are dominant in a subtle way. Charisma can take you far.
10. Integrity. Without integrity, no one will trust you. You can’t expect your followers to be honest with you if you don’t do the same for them. It’s about remaining true to your values regardless of the situation. Leaders that lack integrity don’t last long and often jump from one company to another.
How do your own personality/leadership traits stack up? What can you improve to become a more effective leader? Not everyone is born with natural leaderships skills and attributes, but everyone can become a good leader with development.
If you want to become a great leader, work on these traits and become the best leader you can be.