A leader is someone who motivates others to act toward achieving a common goal. A leader is able to rally people around a cause and move them to take action toward achieving a particular objective.
A good leader inspires people to do something bigger than themselves. To work together to accomplish key objectives. To pool their strengths and resources to achieve great things.
A good leader helps their team members become the absolute best version of themselves.
But how do you lead others to a place you have never been? Before you can effectively lead others and draw out their greatest potential, YOU have to become the best version of yourself first.
What does that look like for you? What traits and talents characterise a good leader?
Here are 7 high-level characteristics:
Vision. An effective leader has a clear vision of where they want to go and how they’re going to get there. They understand where they currently are and are crystal clear on what it’s going to take for them to get to where they want to be. The leader must be able to communicate this vision clearly to their team.
Motivation. The effective leader is highly skilled at motivating people. They know what makes others tick and are able to tap into those emotional triggers. Through their words and actions, they are able to motivate people to do things they maybe wouldn’t do otherwise.
Service. The best leaders are those who serve their followers. They seek to serve their team and make their team as effective as possible. They support their team members in whatever ways they can rather than constantly focusing on their own agenda and what they want to accomplish.
Empathy. A leader must be able to place themselves in the shoes of others. If they want to create consensus among their team, they must be able to understand the concerns of others and effectively respond to those concerns.
Creativity. The highly effective leader is creative when it comes to achieving their outcomes. They use their imagination to look beyond what is directly in front of them to see what’s truly possible. They’re able to see how they can effectively leverage the skills of their followers for the maximum good.
Demanding. The best leaders demand the best from their teams. They don’t settle for mediocre results or half-hearted efforts. Rather, they set an example of passionate work for their team, and they expect their team to follow their example.
Management. Leaders must be able to manage those who follow them. They must be able to strategically guide their team through complex processes, effectively resolve challenges they encounter, and marshal the resources of their team to be deployed for the most good.
None of these characteristics on their own makes for a good leader. The best leaders possess a combination of some, if not all of these characteristics.
They are able to be both creative and demanding at the same time. They can manage effectively while also expressing empathy for their team members. They can provide vision while serving their followers at the same time.
It’s important to understand that leadership isn’t about having a particular position, title, or personal attributes. Just because you’re an executive doesn’t mean you’re a leader. Having the corner office doesn’t mean you’re good at leadership. Having a charismatic personality doesn’t make you a leader.
Kevin Kruse puts it this way:
Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.
The good news is that leadership is NOT something you’re born with. Rather, it’s something you learn over time through practice. And you can become a better leader than you currently are. You can learn the skills and techniques necessary to have the social influence Kevin Kruse talks about.
In this leadership series, we will look at how YOU as a leader can position yourself to be the very best version of yourself and how to then translate that into an empowering, effective, high-performing environment for your team.
By implementing these principles in your own life, you can become a powerful, passionate, inspirational leader. You can help others become the best version of themselves and achieve great things. You can lead them to accomplish your vision.