“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
— Woodrow Wilson
What is a leader?
According to WordWeb, a leader is a person who rules, guides or inspires others.
In your opinion, what are five traits or characteristics of a leader?
If I asked 10 different people this question, their lists would more than likely share at least one common trait. The other traits listed would be unique based on experience, ideals and personality. This is why you may consider Mr. X to be a leader and I do not.
It is true, however, that the majority of great leaders share some common traits and characteristics that equip them to be an effective leader.
Great Leaders Have a “Can Do” Attitude
Great leaders have learned from experience that unexpected events out of their control happen to everyone who is on a progressive path forward. They have also learned to get over it and keep moving forward with a new focus, an alternate plan of action and a reinvigorated commitment to getting the objective met.
I once heard it said that someone was just too damn stubborn to fail.
A leader, above everyone else, must stay focused on developing and implementing strategic actions to meet the goal or vision. As a leader, keeping her team focused, energized, committed and excited about the goal or vision is her responsibility.
The leader must have the experience and mental maturity to keep the team on the right path regardless of the hurdles of competing priorities.
Lead the Team
There will be times that critical and timely decisions must be made to refine or modify the strategic plan. A great leader gathers his team and factually outlines the reason(s) why an adjustment to the original plan is in order. It is up to the leader to lead the team, with everyone’s involvement, to a positive workable solution.
An Effective Communicator
Typically, a team effort is required to meet a goal or implement a vision. Honest, factual and transparent communication is required to make sure all team members are “on board”. Team members need to know that they can trust you, the leader, with their commitment. A leader must actually listen to (not just hear) the concerns and opinions of his team members. The team members need to “feel” the leader’s caring, understanding and acknowledgment of their concerns and opinions.
Earn the Loyalty
Loyalty cannot be forced upon the team members through coercion or intimidation. Loyalty can only be earned.
Every team member brings some kind of “value” to the team. Team members are assets. Leaders, through their actions, need to make sure they are an asset to the team members. If team members are to have the back of the leader, the leader must have the backs of each team member. Any breach of this trust by the leader will result in permanent damage to the concept of being a team.
“A good leader leads the people from above them.
A great leader leads the people from within them.”
— M. D. Arnold
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