Great individuals have won the minds and hearts of followers throughout history to achieve change, build businesses, empower communities and transform lives. They have led the way towards progress and forged beaming paths into the future. Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Joan of Arc, Florence Nightingale, Eva Peron, to name a few, all led by example, motivating people along the way.
- So what is the driving force behind good leadership?
- What makes a great leader?
- And can you learn to become one?
Now let’s get some answers,
What does it take to be a good leader?
Leaders are often in a position of authority but their high post does not always necessarily prompt others to follow them or feel inspired. In other words, effective leadership is a product of many factors. A leader’s personal traits and qualities, as well as their learned behavior, attitude, and beliefs, is what makes them what they are.
Below, we’ll highlight the most distinct qualities and characteristics of a true leader. See if you could recognize some of these attributes, skills, and values in yourself.
What are the qualities of a good leader?
A leader’s qualities are often innate or inborn, despite that researchers have come to the conclusion that leadership is one-third born and two-thirds made. Here are seven natural features of a good leader, which are not impossible but harder to learn.
Without compassion for others, a person in a leadership role will quickly alienate themselves from the rest of their team. A great leader will not think twice to put themselves in other people’s shoes and act upon it. They are naturally emotionally intelligent individuals.
Great leaders are naturally drawn to people. They take a genuine interest in their followers’ lives, problems, and aspirations. Still, if you are a sworn introvert, you can still learn how to come out of your shell and slowly adopt this personal trait.
Passionate about their cause, ideas or ventures, leaders believe in what they do. They put their heart and soul in every endeavor in order to succeed and bring everyone else together for the common good.
A leader’s inborn ability to experiment inspires them to seek and apply innovation. They are not afraid and will happily tread on an unbeaten path even if this means that they may have to overcome unforeseen obstacles along the way.
People follow eagerly humble leaders who share their success with the team. Collaboration, partnership and productive exchange of ideas are empowered by the leader’s innate capacity for respecting others and appreciating their values.
Bias is a foreign word to great leaders. They are open to new ideas, a difference of opinions and will always give you the benefit of the doubt before jumping to conclusions. A quality that most people strive to learn and develop, it comes naturally to those who are successful at leading and motivating others.
Although people are not naturally born confident and independent, leaders often show resourcefulness from a very young age. They are self-reliant, quick thinkers who will always find a way in times of uncertainty.
“The ability successfully communicate and build a serviceable raport is priceless”, says Andrew Girardin from EFL Academy, “Theoretical knowledge of how and why wording goes a long way to in the hands of a good leader,” he adds.
Strong characteristics of a good leader
A man’s character is usually associated with developed habits and behaviors. It implies a set of values and morals that determine how we behave with others and how we progress or approach situations in life. These eight characteristics of powerful leadership may come naturally to great visionaries, passionate humanitarians, successful politicians, adventurous explorers or decisive and innovative business owners but they can be also acquired through conscious self-development and determination by people like you.
True leaders are true to their words. They are fair, objective, authentic, genuine and trustworthy. Great leaders never lose sight of their moral compass.
- Problem-solving skills
A positive attitude towards finding solutions to any problem is a vital aspect of forward thinking. Effective leaders will try new things in a responsible manner. They will adapt and persevere until they come out victorious on the other side.
- Willingness to learn
The restlessness of their curious mind is what makes leaders never stop learning… From others, from experiences, from their own mistakes and failures, or from the miracle, called Life.
- Ability to empower
Great leaders guide, teach, motivate and inspire. They know how to bring the best out of their employees or followers by leading by example and by encouraging people to excel in what they are best at.
- Think outside the box
Unorthodox thinking has given birth to the greatest ideas of our time, despite being deemed a folly at first. Inventors, discoverers, and pioneers find solutions outside the box.
Leaders need to be decisive doers when it matters the most. Sometimes, they don’t waste time on endless and unconstructive meetings, trying to convince their doubters. They act and take responsibility for their actions.
- Communication skills
Being able to listen, relay ideas and delegate responsibilities in a considerate and thoughtful way are all skills that an effective leader should possess.
Staying on course through the good and bad times is crucial when it comes to achieving a greater goal. This doesn’t mean being inflexible but determined not to give up at the slightest hiccup.
How to be a great leader today?
Whether we talk about leadership in business, in the NGO sector, in politics or you are interested in how to be a good leader at the workplace, our understanding has shifted significantly from the conventional idea that leaders are defined by their role of being an authority figure. True leaders, today, are not simply people with power. They are partners, servants, visionaries, protectors, motivators, and influencers.
Examples of good leadership:
Of course, the examples of successful leadership in business and other areas of life are numerous to list in this article. Leading entrepreneurs from across the globe, nowadays, are driven by different values, in order to grow their business and inspire people.
For instance, Sir Richard Branson’s unconventional stance on success puts his employees always first, even ahead of his customers. Or there’s a lot we can learn from Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson and his constructive, transparent and empathic response to the company’s recent crisis.
Another advice of how to be a great leader in business is shared by Rune Sovndahl, CEO of Fantastic Services – a growing home services franchising company in Australia that has spread wings from the UK to Down Under and the USA. His unorthodox but all-embracing philosophy of 360 degrees happiness revolves around the idea of having, above all, respect for others, as well as around the strong belief in nurturing talent and doing whatever it takes to keep everyone satisfied.
Great leaders are bold to be different
According to Rosalinde Torres, an expert on leadership, effective leaders are not afraid of diversity. They find solutions, progress and learn from people that are different to them. She believes that only through connecting and communicating with those within your network who dare think differently to you, trust is gained and shared goals are achieved.
Great leaders serve
Great leaders lead from the front. But true leaders protect and serve their followers. They will never sacrifice people for their own gain.
Nelson Mandela’s famous words reverberate this notion:
“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”
Great leaders take a leap, not a step
Again, after years of practical research on successful leadership, Today’s leaders must be able to divert from tradition, leave their comfort zone and learn to anticipate change. They can only empower and inspire others by shaping the future, not reacting to it.