Leadership traits exist within all of us, regardless of what position we hold in our work or at home. It is in all of us to make some great choices in tough situations as well as make pro-active choices to keep ourselves from getting into a bind. Regardless of the situation, location or time, the power remains in your hands. One of the main questions I ask everyone during interviews that wants to join my team is simply to differentiate management from leadership, and to make me understand which is more important to them. They often fail and therefore lose the opportunity.
So I decided to take a moment and break it down for all of you that might be struggling on the core competencies that make a leader.
1. Be Fearless: Being fearless is one the most important traits of a leader. Not being afraid to try or act on something different give you the ability to drive results. Sometimes we are faced with situations that involve customers, employees or friends and we back down in a corner out of fear, even when we believe we are right. Being a great leader means, not being afraid to confront issues and situations from an analytical standpoint while keeping control of the situation. If you are afraid of confrontation or the outcome of a situation prior to engaging the situation, you need to work on your leadership skills.
2. Create a Vision: Knowing where you are going and what the bigger picture looks like is key to creating a path to get there. You can’t create outcomes if you don’t know what success looks like for you and your team, knowing what the final outcome looks like and where you fit in is a trait that is missing in many leaders.
3. Be the Driver: Since you have a vision, you know what you need to do to get there then you should be ready to drive the results you need to create outcomes. Waiting for the world to come to you is not an option and strategically thinking about the actions needed and driving them forward is very necessary. Waiting to be the second to try something or simply waiting around won’t create results, so drive the process you need forward and have others as passengers in your car.
4. Grow Talent: It is often a forgotten topic as leaders are consumed by victory, we sometimes forget the team effort needed to win not once but multiple times. Great leadership includes finding talent, growing it to the expected level and trusting it to do a good job, so you can focus on other priorities. The key here is not to delegate work but rather train and create leaders out of others that will be right behind you and will be great elements of support. This is also great as it keeps you motivated to self improve and never allows those under you to surpass you.
5. Self Motivation: Remaining motivated can sometimes be difficult and therefore usually requires intervention from someone. In other words, someone needs to give you a reason or remind you of why you are to push harder to drive outcomes. The world’s best leaders are those that find it within themselves to remember why they work so hard and that it isn’t over until they say so. They never need someone above them as it would only get in their way and slow down their track, instead they wake up everyday energized, knowing what needs to be done and get back to it until they are fully finished. Remaining self motivated is probably the hardest component/trait to master but once you do I promise you that you won’t give up on anything that you started till its over.
Being a great leader isn’t difficult, it simply takes practice and desire. Many of us wake up with a feeling everyday that we have much more potential in ourselves than we are using and that the road ahead is quite bright while greater things await us. This feeling is what I call “the calling” and is nothing more than the real leader in you trying to tell you to act on what you already know. While it isn’t difficult to be a great leader, it is constant thinking and work and requires patience and common sense.
These basic 5 steps are a great place to start but far from the end. Similar to game of chess; Vision, Strategy and Execution define who you are and if you remain in the game.
Make sure to check out “The Ultimate Leadership Guide” if you are serious about taking the next step in leadership