What makes a great leader? It’s a common question that has a different answer depending on who you ask. A leader is simply defined as someone who has followers. You could be the leader of a line, group, organization, or country. Therefore, anyone has the ability to be a leader but that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone has the ability to be a great leader.
So what separates a leader from a great leader? The answer lies in their ability to influence and inspire others. A great leader is measured by the success of their followers. Great leaders possess a strong set of leadership qualities that allow them to interact with their team, employees, clients, or anyone they come across.
Here are five traits that are common among great leaders:
It’s essential to be able to communicate effectively to be a great leader. Communication is far more than what you say and how you say it. It also includes the way you behave and act. You must be able to convey information to others in a variety of ways and be willing to listen to their feedback. Words hold a lot of power and value. When communication is used correctly and effectively it has the ability to inspire people.
A great leader is able to quickly overcome obstacles and difficulties. They’re agile and able to spring forward when they’re pushed back. Rather than focusing on complaining about a problem, a great leader will focus their energy on finding a solution. In tough situations, great leaders will ease their followers' anxiety, rally them up, and motivate them to continue.
Being empathetic means having the ability to put yourself in another's shoes and understand their point of view. It means being able to imagine what another person might be thinking or feeling. It is necessary for a leader to be empathetic with those that he/she leads. A leader that is empathetic is able to understand the problems of their followers and is able to act and resolve problems quicker. It also allows them to build a stronger bond with their followers and instill trust between them.
To earn respect one must give respect. A great leader treats everyone with respect, regardless of the person’s perceived social or other standing. It’s important for a leader to respect their followers as it minimizes tensions and creates a sense of trust. Respect can be shown by being kind, polite, thankful, affirmative, and a good listener.
If a leader doubts themselves, how can they expect their followers not to doubt them? A leader must be able to be confident in themselves and their vision. Confidence is necessary, as a leader that’s doubtful will hesitate to take needed risks and not push themselves to accomplish higher goals. It’s important for a leader to have a positive self-image as this is how a person views themselves, their competencies, and skills.
A successful leader will showcase these five traits. You can learn these skills through time and experience. Leadership is a journey, an ongoing process, as real-life situations will constantly push you to evolve in the way that you handle situations. Honing in on these five traits is a good start to becoming a true, successful leader.