Leadership skills are not learned in the classroom. These skills stem from following the dos and don’ts discussed earlier and possessing traits common to all great leaders. This time we define some traits common amongst great leaders.
Integrity is the most important trait that all leaders possess.
Everyone makes mistakes, leaders own up to their mistakes without making excuses or falsely placing blame to make themselves look better. If a leader does not know the answer to a question or the best way to tackle a problem, they ask for help. It is very easy to get caught up in saving the day, but leaders look to others to help them learn and grow. Most of all, great leaders are people of their word. If commitments are made, they are kept. Integrity is the best way to gain trust and respect in all areas of life. Be VERY careful about the commitments you make as you will be judged on your follow through!
Passion, dedication and selflessness are three traits that feed off each other.
Finding and demonstrating passion in your work, whether it be your career or a volunteer effort, will inspire others to achieve their full potential. When one finds their passion, they become dedicated to feeding that passion and growing. The residual effect of passion and dedication is often selflessness. It becomes very hard to have passion and dedication without sharing it. Great leaders become their team’s biggest cheerleader. Their selfless nature and positive attitude can become viral.
Communication and approachability is the set of traits that define great leaders.
By keeping managers, colleagues and clients up to date shows dedication and respect. Communication is a two way street. If others feel that you are unapproachable, there is a great risk for communication breakdown. Be open to others communicating with you.
Bob Moawad described leadership best: “The aim of the great leader is not to get people to think more highly of the leader. It’s to make people think more highly of themselves”. The difference you make as a leader may not be overtly apparent. One word or gesture can make a difference at work, home or out in the world. Drew Dudley calls these impacts “lollipop moments”. Check out this TED talk to hear why. Watch the TED Talk Here.
By becoming a great problem solver, keeping your cool when tensions run hot and honing your leadership skills, you can make yourself the best candidate for the next stage of your career.