Leadership is a complicated issue that many people argue about. There are many different ways to lead, and they can all result in success in the right circumstances. However, true leaders are the people that make a positive and long lasting difference in the world, and they all share certain traits that you can adopt.
Ordinary leaders make most of the big decisions. They determine the direction of their company, the products it will make or the services it offers. But true leaders go beyond this. The choices they make and the policies they implement determine the spirit of the company, what it stands for and means to workers and customers. A great leader shares their vision and their passion with their workers to inspire, develop, and motivate them. And they make great things happen.
As John Quincy Adams stated: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”
Do you understand how to inspire and motivate others as a leader? What traits can you develop that will help you do this?
True leaders have a vision
This seems like an obvious one, but it’s also vital. True leaders must have a vision beyond making money or achieving success if they want to inspire others to follow. Having a vision acts as motivation towards a goal, both for the leader and for their team, and gives them something bigger to strive for.
To develop your vision, try the following steps:
Observe the world around you, look for ideas and patterns and things other people don’t see or haven’t done. This will help you to understand the value you want to add to the world.
Use mindfulness techniques to gain self-knowledge and understanding.
Write your vision down somewhere you will see it often.
True leaders use emotion
Emotion inspires people to follow and it galvanizes them behind a cause. No matter how well thought out your business advertisements are, they won’t succeed if people don’t care. True leaders understand the role of emotion in connecting people with a company and with a product, and how this can move their business forward. But they also understand how to connect employees with the company to ensure loyalty and happiness.
Use the following strategies to bring more emotion to your business life:
Take time to learn about the problems and concerns of workers and customers.
Ask questions, listen to the answers, and try to solve other people’s problems.
Be open-minded and curious about other people and the world. This will help you to see things through their eyes.
They have focus
When everyone is panicking, true leaders have the ability to step back and focus. This makes them great at solving problems and dealing with conflict. It also means that they are usually the only one staying calm when everyone else is running around in a panic. This skill is essential for leaders in an ever changing world.
To improve your focus in business work on the following steps:
Use your business plan as well as your vision for the business to help you make the right decisions.
Develop your self-control through discipline exercises.
Develop your self-knowledge through mindfulness practices.
True leaders know how to plan
There’s no point in having a vision if you have no idea how to get it. That’s why true leaders quickly learn that they have to plan to get what they want. According to research, great leaders must also be able to adjust their plans to deal with changes or problems that come up. This requires a flexibility and creativity that not many people have.
To help you develop your planning skills as a leader, try the following strategies:
Make sure you write it down.
Define what success looks like to you.
Get input from people you trust, they may think of things that you don’t.
Let others lead
True leaders know how to delegate. They know how to assess their employee’s abilities and hand over some of their power to get the best results. According to research, delegation is vital if you want to grow your business. It allows others to develop their skills, encourages trust and team work, and increases the productivity of your business. And yet people are often reluctant to do it.
To overcome your reluctance to delegate, try the following steps:
Understand why you’re hesitating. Is it because your employees really can’t do the work or does it have more to do with your perfectionist nature?
Measure your time so you know what low-value activities you’re doing that can be delegated.
Communicate and work with your team to ensure that they have the skills to handle the new tasks you want to give them.
True leaders are good communicators
True leaders know how to communicate to get the results they want. They have a good understanding of body language and how it can be used in conjunction with their words to elicit trust and belief in their audience. And their adeptness with these tools reflects their high emotional intelligence and understanding of the puzzle that is people. This all helps them to communicate their vision and influence the behavior of others.
Improve your communication skills with the following strategies:
Build your knowledge of others with observation and sincere interest. (Do not fake this)
Develop your public speaking skills.
Learn about body language techniques.
True leaders have integrity
True leaders build trust by interacting with integrity in every situation. This is essential for success in business and in life. Some people have found short term success through deceitful methods, but they’re always found out in the end. And trust, once broken, is almost impossible to get back.
Having integrity means that you’re not afraid to face the truth about yourself and your business, and it means keeping promises to clients and to workers. It’s not always the easiest way to do business, but it’s the only way that creates honest and lasting success.
To bring more integrity to your business, consider the following steps:
Don’t hire yes men. Deliberately look for people who have the guts to argue when you’re wrong.
Keep your promises.
Be honest and demand the same from the people around you.
They are creative
True leaders need to use their creativity in every aspect of their business. This means that they can create new products, dream up new ways to do things, and solve old problems in new ways. Some sources claim that creativity is becoming the most important leadership trait in our ever changing world, and that the time is coming when leaders who are not creative will be left behind.
The very creative inventor Steve Jobs said it best: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
Bring more creativity to your work practices with the following ideas:
Deliberately seek out teams or employees who are creative.
Nurture creativity in others.
Take up creative hobbies in your free time to constantly stretch your creative muscles.
The one thing you should take away from this
True leaders know that it takes more than a vision to lead a business or a company. They also need to inspire others to believe in what they see and to follow. This takes a combination of traits that can be cultivated and encouraged if you want to make your business a success. Evaluate the way you do business and the way you lead to find out which leadership traits you lack or aren’t using. And then make a deliberate effort to develop and apply them in your professional life.