They say that great leaders are born, not made. Although there are some rare individuals that happen to be born with great leadership abilities from day one, most great leaders are shaped by circumstance, and driven by their own desire to succeed. If you’re in charge of a team, or have aspirations to one day take a business to the heights of success, then here are 4 key qualities that every great leader should possess.
(photo not mine)
1. Great communicator.
Effective communication lies at the heart of what it takes to be a great leader. When you’re in charge of a team, having a great vision inside your head means nothing if you cannot communicate that idea effectively to your staff. That’s why great communication skills are vital when you’re a leader. You need to be able to express yourself effectively, and you need to know how to get your message across to all kinds of people. Being a great communicator also means that you’re able to motivate others to get onboard your project, and these days, it means being able to communicate effectively online – for example through software like Axcelerate (axcelerate.com.au).
If there’s one constant in life, it’s this: change. Things change. Plans change. People change. A great leader is able to deal with this change and bend instead of break in response to the vicissitudes of life. A great leader is able to change a business strategy at the drop of a hat, in light of new pressing circumstances. A bad leader stubbornly holds onto outdated strategies in the slim hope that his persistence will see him through. Great leaders know when it’s time to change course, and embrace the new direction. So, be flexible to changing circumstances, and see it as a chance to make a new discovery.
Having the courage to venture into uncharted territory and make risky decisions is all part of being a great leader. Everyone experiences fear from time to time. But what separates the mice from the men is the latter’s ability to feel that fear and proceed anyway – even in the face of uncertainty. Great leaders don’t shy away from difficult or uncomfortable situations because they know (either consciously or unconsciously) that beyond what they fear is the chance of discovering something new: either for their business, or about themselves.
Sometimes the decisions we make don’t end up working out well. That’s life. A great leader takes full responsibility when things don’t work out as planned, and doesn’t try and blame others or circumstances. Even when the finger can be pointed at specific individuals, a great leader is more concerned with getting things back on track than playing the blame game.
If you want to be a great leader then work on developing the above 4 key qualities. Even if you believe that great leaders can only be born, it’s unreasonable to argue that these qualities can’t be at least be enhanced in ordinary individuals. So get to it, and work on your communication, your flexibility, your courage and just be responsible.