If you've been trying to understand exactly what a great leader is and looks like, you won't find a clear definition. Your leadership style is going to be influenced by your personalities and the challenges that you faced over the course of your career. So if you've been following other leaders and doing exactly what they're doing, but not getting the same results, this is the reason why. There are an untold number of leadership styles. However, there are certain qualities that all good leaders share. So in this article today, we'll be covering what those top columns are and how you can learn them to become a great leader yourself.
1. Strategic thinking.
Being able to think strategically is one of the most sought out and desired skills. If your goal is leadership, it's also one of the most expect the skills that you should have in your arsenal. Why? Because this is a skill that allows you to identify opportunities that will bring value to the company you're working on.
This skill allows you to challenge the status quo, challenge the way things have been done, and design new ways that your business can face challenges. Without this skill and competency in place in your organization, then your company will become complacent. People will start applying previous and past solutions to current, to future problems, hoping that things will work. When your organization is in this state, your leadership team will start failing to identify threats as well as opportunities. This is usually what leads to the demise of many business initiatives.
2. Be Inspirational
An inspirational leader is someone who helps people bring out the best in themselves. You need to be able to push others to do more and know how to bring out the best in others. When you've mastered this skill, you'll find that the people who work for you are going to be very happy.
They'll be encouraged to do the work they'll be energized and they'll be motivated and they'll be highly engaged with the work. Because in working for you in this way, they believe that what they're doing is essential and they're making a difference. So you need to be able to inspire that in others.
This also makes you more relatable, which plays into your professional relationships.
If you're like most in a leadership role, you're there because of a relationship that you have, or that you built, or a friendship or a network connection. Building relationships and inspiring people is going to be vital to your success as a leader. Not many people will want to follow or be led by someone that doesn't inspire them and they can't relate to.
3. Critical thinking, analyzing, and problem solving abilities.
Far too often, we focus on the symptoms of a problem rather than the actual cause. As a leader, when you're faced with a problem, your critical thinking skills have to kick in quickly. So you can analyze the problem to find the solution.
This goes beyond stating the obvious. You have to be able to identify the real issues and the underlying symptoms. You'll do this by asking the right questions and using your strategic thinking skills to providing ideas on how to fix it.
4. Transparency, integrity, and honesty.
To be successful in life, not just in leadership, you have to be very honest. It's going to be possible for you to succeed without having a solid reputation for honesty and integrity. Because as a leader, you'd be building relationships and these relationships are going to be based on trust. You can't trust someone who is dishonest. As the leader, your integrity is a crucial success factor.
You'll have to get in the habit of being completely honest. Even when it's bad news. Because this is the basis on which all other aspects of your role as a leader are based. You're going to be a role model, whether you like it or not. So, you have to be the model of integrity to follow. How you are in the way you work, is how your employees behave and how they work.
5. Developing others.
To be a great leader, you can't be intimidated by those who know more than you. At the same time, you have to support those who don't know as much as you do. Support them in their growth, their development, even though it can sometime get to be a drag on your daily work. Since your goal is to be a great leader, you have to realize, and understand that it's essential to create a learning environment within your company. Where it's easy to exchange information and is knowledge transfer is always given.
Everyone you'll be leading should have the opportunity to grow.
Not only do you have to be supportive of others in their learning, but you also have to be excited about learning yourself. Get in the habit of creating new things and innovating. By doing something new and building on your existing skills, that is how you gain the experience to be an expert in your chosen field. You also shouldn't be afraid to say you don't know something and do what it takes to learn how to do it.
The Bottom Line
When you put all these skills together, what you get is someone who can drive results. With strategic thinking, every action that you're taking will be be connected to something else. This is why great leaders, really drive results because every action they take is thoroughly planned out. By focusing on being inspirational, you'll naturally come to understand how everyone's going to fit into each step of your process.
At the same time, developing your critical thinking skills, developing others' skills (along with yours) and being transparent about the state of projects, will make communication and managing the team easier. You'll become a natural expert in the things you do, and people will start looking up to you.
We look up to those who know things and can demonstrate that over and over again. The same applies to leaders. You can be a leader in your area if you're really good at something, because people will look up to you and they'll come to you for help when they're struggling, because they want to succeed. Like you are. But, since leadership isn't a natural skill for many of us, we have to start becoming aware of what we're missing. What leadership skills are we missing and where do we need to improve.
To help with that, I've developed a short guided learning program that will help you get an idea of where you currently stand, and what your leadership skills currently are, and what you need to do to practice everyday leadership. Click on the link below for this free 15 minute guided learning program.