“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell
A leader is defined as a person who commands a group or organization. We’ve all been come across countless situations where we feel called to lead. As a leader there are people placed under our watch that come from all walks of life each made up of different personalities. Because we are all made up of different characteristics and motivators being a leader requires one to be fluid and willing to adapt in any situation. Where leadership requires a degree of flexibility, there are core characteristics that make a good leader great. Here are some of the key qualities a great leader must emphasize to execute one’s overall goal.
- Persistence – As a leader not every idea or venture you try is going to be a success. Before becoming the richest person in the world, Bill Gates’s company created the Traf-O-Data 8008. This device was intended to process traffic tape information and create reports for traffic engineers through processing the data. When trying to sell the service to the local county officials, Gates noted the prototype failed because it didn’t work. This product failure could have crippled the Gates’ foundation but instead, the company used this experience to create one of the first Microsoft products a few years later. If you find yourself falling short your first time out of the gate reflect on your mistakes, learn from them, and move forward with a fresh perspective. You might be surprised at what you can do.
- Communication – If the people you supervise aren’t aware of your expectations, it’s your fault for not expressing them. A great leader remains in constant communication with the people they work with consistently delegating tasks and reinforcing expectations. Where communication is key in a leadership position, it requires a level of balance. Make sure the people you work with understand that the work you do is a collaboration. Allow room for the people you work with to share thoughts and ideas to make what you do great.
- Inspire – We’ve all started from somewhere. Many great business leaders of our day started with nothing and worked their butts off to achieve personal and professional greatness. Let your story inspire others to follow in your footsteps. Share the stories and people that inspired you to be the person you are today. Motivation is a powerful tool that can help others achieve the success they want for themselves.
- Open-mindedness – A leader does not achieve greatness by creating stagnant goals and sticking to them by all means necessary. Leadership requires a sense of flexibility and a willingness to adjust plans when necessary. When starting up a new project, the goal should be to invest and maintain relationships. These relationships will ultimately be the key to achieving success.
- Empowerment – Many leadership philosophies were derived from athletics. The most successful teams aren’t made up of the most successful players but consist of a group of people that complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. In order to achieve a successful team, you must delegate responsibility and authority. Where it’s our nature to avoid giving away responsibility, its key to our personal and professional success. By delegating responsibility to your team, you can truly see a person’s capabilities and empower them as individuals and members of your team.
Becoming a great leader requires you to be able to work as a part of a team. If you aren’t in a position of leadership now, use your time as a team player to learn from people in power. Develop your own style of leadership from looking up to people who have achieved what you want for yourself. Every experience you’re in can be a learning opportunity for where you want to be. It’s up to you to make the most out of where you are right now.