What do Winston Churchill, Gandhi and Steve Jobs have in common? They were all influential and inspiring leaders who, through their power of conviction and authenticity, were able to mobilize people around a common goal. There’s no question that leadership continues to be a hot topic in business.
And who has not seen the plethora of references on social media to tyrannical bosses who inspire fear and loathing or, conversely, people in leadership roles who couldn’t seem to care less?
When I speak about leadership it is useful to examine the skills that these and other iconic figures possess. Here are two examples.
Great leaders are often revered. The American President John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” These are words to inspire any idealist!
When I do my leadership training sessions, participants are eager to know what the key leadership competencies are and particularly how they can perfect and embody these skills in their work and personal lives.
I often promote a “shared leadership” model, which essentially puts the onus on both the employer and the individual to ascend to new levels and develop his/her own leadership potential. In other words, Take ownership of the lead.
Do you feel challenged? Do you have the makings of a great leader?Let’s take a deeper look at the five key leadership traits you can develop.
5 key leaderships traits
A GOOD LEADER IS A GREAT COMMUNICATOR
Effective communications skills allow the leader to be a better negotiator. The leader may not necessarily get all team members to agree on all issues, but his communication skills will enable him to gain credibility, which results in an overall stronger commitment on the part of his subordinates and co-workers.
A GOOD LEADER PREACHES BY EXAMPLE
“Do what I say, not as I do” is the motto of a boss, not a leader. Leading by example means to demonstrate honesty and ethics in every one of your actions. It is the leader who sets the tone, and is the one who will dictate the course of things. Great leaders jump right in and are involved; this is how they motivate others and encourage them to follow in the same direction!
A GOOD LEADER RALLIES EMPLOYEES
In the same vein, one of the best ways to mobilize work teams is to recognize and develop the talents of others. A good leader knows how to acknowledge potential and leads others to believe in their own potential. He encourages teams to work together to achieve a common goal that benefits everyone, while having fun doing it. With valuable feedback and the use of positive reinforcement, employees will be fired up and motivated to achieve.
A GOOD LEADER INSPIRES
Surround yourself with talented people, and then adopt a coaching approach. Forget the old way of simply issuing orders; to encourage and develop others you should share your experiences with them. This requires that you be vulnerable, that you dispel any smokescreen between what you really are and what you want to let show. To inspire people, invite them to share your path to leadership. After all, “if you think you are leading and turn around to see no one following, then you are just taking a walk.”
A GOOD LEADER ACCEPTS LIABILITY
Blaming others is not part of the DNA of a good leader. On the contrary, a good leader always appears ready to accept his share of responsibility, risk and blame. He does not see failure as an end but as an apprenticeship. He uses adversity as a springboard, to rebound and find a better path. The leader never feels the victim of a situation; he maintains an integral role in a project regardless of the result.
And are you the kind of leader that you want to be?