12 Most Attractive Qualities of A Great Leader
Great leaders are a rare breed.
Many would argue that some people are natural born leaders. However, I believe that becoming a great leader takes commitment and effort.
Becoming a great leader isn’t about charisma or chance. It’s about developing the skills necessary to lead, motivate, and influence people in good and bad times.
Although there are many skills that make someone a leader, here are twelve key traits that make a person a great leader.
1. They’re lifelong learners
Great leaders never stop learning about their industry, themselves, their team, and how to best motivate their people. They realize that there is never a point when you “know it all.” There is always something new to learn.
2. They listen
Great leaders understand the 2:1 ratio—two ears and one mouth. Leaders don’t just bark orders. They listen to their team, their customers, their peers, and their competitors because they know it is the best way to understand a situation so they can make the best decision possible.
3. They accept and validate input
Great leaders don’t operate in a vacuum assuming that they always know best. They know to consider input from everyone impacted by a decision in order to get buy-in from their team, stay grounded and remain objective. Although they retain final say, they’re team will stand behind the decision knowing that they’re input was wholeheartedly weighed and considered.
4. They consider the past, present and future
Great leaders understand where their organization has been, where it’s at, and where it’s going. They don’t only barrel forward, ignoring what’s happening now, nor do they ignore the lessons learned from past experiences. Instead they take a balanced approach so they can adjust, maintain, and move forward.
5. They know when to deliberate and when to shoot from the hip
Great leaders possess a strong knack for knowing when to make a decision and jump on an opportunity or when to exercise prudence instead. It’s a skill developed over time, and those who master it are able to navigate through a variety of circumstances without sinking the ship.
6. They accept responsibility
They accept the consequences both good and bad for their decisions and leadership, even if it means going down with the ship. They never pass the buck.
7. They demand excellence, but allow mistakes
Great leaders inspire people to grow and challenge them to be better than they are today. They let people make mistakes and help them find ways to learn and improve instead of punishing them.
8. They create opportunities for others
Great leaders create opportunities for people to learn, grow, or even move on. They treat people as an end in themselves, not merely as a means to an end, making sure that everyone has the ability to thrive both within and outside of the organization.
9. They know how to motivate different kinds of people
Great leaders know that leadership is not one-size fits-all. They understand how to assess and motivate different kinds of people toward success, not just people who think like them.
10. They stand behind and stand up for their people
Great leaders know that respect and integrity rests on the fact that they will stand up for their people and push them forward. The best leaders aren’t necessarily the ones in front.
11. They know that s*@t always rolls uphill
Great leaders know that negative talk and gossip kill morale and breed distrust. They don’t talk badly about anyone in front of their team. Instead they save it for the boardroom, mastermind team, or other confidant.
12. Who they are doesn’t change from situation to situation
A great leader is the same person at work, at home, in front of the boss, or on the street. Their values don’t change to suit the whims of others.
Great leaders put others first and find ways to help others grow. They’re not rock stars or talking heads. They’re cheerleaders, teachers, listeners, moderators, and can be found at any level of an organization—not just in management.
Above all, a great leader is nothing without people.
Photo courtesy of Ghost of Fuji. Used under creative commons, some rights reserved.