How to Recognize Great Leaders

Great leadership is becoming much harder to find in today’s business world. With more and more of today’s leaders being nothing more than selfish managers with titles, it makes it difficult to know who to trust. If you think about the differentiation between leaders and managers, the word ‘ownership’ comes to mind. It is, however, possible for great managers to also take ownership. The real difference lies in the fact that great managers take ownership of processes and results, but great leaders on the other hand take ownership of those they are leading. Here are some tips to help you identify great leadership and help you decipher who you should be paying attention to and who you should simply ignore.

1. People First:

Great leaders always pay attention to those following them and put them first. Simple ways to identify this at work is to look for which managers books their vacations first vs those who ask others prior to booking theirs. Despite being a small detail, most leaders are conscious that those following them need to feel appreciated and as a result do not put their own desires before the needs of their people.

2. Strong Vision:

Great leaders are present in the communication of their vision but also present in the execution. It is easy for people to speak a big game but certainly much harder to be present during all the hard work. Pay attention to those around you helping build the vision even though they could be sitting back.

3. Grows Talent:

Great leaders are not afraid to grow their followers, even if that means being overshadowed by them. When great leaders take interest in growing talent, the goal is to grow the talent to its maximum potential even if that means exceeding the teacher himself. It is often true that great leaders will push the envelope and ask you to do things that may seem impossible at first, but will stand behind you and ensure you get there.

4. Its in the details:

Great leaders pay attention to everything. It is in the details they find the perfection they seek. Despite their vision being broad, they understand that the little things make the biggest differences and as a result ensure others see the importance of the little things often overlooked.

5. Mask their fears.

Everyone is afraid, even some of today’s best leaders have fears. The difference in great leadership is the ability to mask your fears so that others following you do not get sidetracked by your insecurities. Remaining in control even when all else fails is one of the characteristics of amazing leaders. It is after all how we act in the worst of times that determines our true character and great leaders know that. They will act even more focused when everything else seems to have lost it.

Just remember that great leaders build followers because of who they are and what they have done, not because of a title or directive. If you want to gauge if indeed you are a great leader, then ask yourself the following: if it holds true that you can only lead people, then why should anyone follow you?


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