8 Qualities That Make a Good Leader
In a nation driven by overachievers and brilliant minds, everyone wants to know what it takes to become the next influential leader in their business, society, or respective field. Surprisingly, according to psychological studies and science, the key traits in a strong leader can be narrowed down to a handful of shared qualities. Even more surprisingly, many of these traits can be acquired over time, so if you hope to eventually become a leader that’s respected and admired, here are the qualities you need to possess.
Strong Decision-Making Skills
People look to leaders who demonstrate excellent judgment and are able to make decisions that are beneficial, well-educated, and confident. Because of their positions and responsibilities, most leaders are required to make difficult decisions on a regular basis. More often than not, these decisions take serious consideration and will affect many people. A strong leader will use their thinking skills, advisors, and ethics to make a decision that benefits the good of the group. A weak leader, on the other hand, might make impulsive decisions rooted in personal desire or ignorance.
The Ability to Focus on What Matters
Leadership involves examining a variety of problems and solutions frequently, but most predominantly, it requires people to look at the big picture. To be an effective, valuable leader, you must be able to continuously focus on what’s truly important, no matter how many small details may get in the way. If you become overwhelmed by smaller concepts and issues, you will quickly lose sight of what matters to you and those that follow you. Furthermore, a strong leader shares his ability to stay focused with others by encouraging his teammates to aim for high goals and avoid the trivial concerns that may weight them down. After all, what is a leader without a team to back him up?
Confidence That Inspires Others
There’s a reason people are drawn to confident people: confidence is often viewed as a virtue, and it allows leaders to charm others while making themselves seem trustworthy. All of the best leaders exhibit at least some level of confidence, both in themselves and the ideas they promote. If you hope to inspire others with your poise and assertiveness, focus on exuding confidence without seeming arrogant or belittling.
Honesty in the Big and Small Things
No one trusts someone who keeps secrets or acts fake in front of others. That’s why most genuinely good leaders are upfront and honest with those around them. They want others to view them as authentic, so they are open about their flaws and goals. Lying to your employees or coworkers is a surefire way to degrade their opinion of you, so try to be as transparent as you can so that you hold on to their trust.
A Hefty Dose of Self-Motivation
In America, people value the “self-made man.” In other words, many leaders are viewed as people who are extremely driven and therefore able to motivate themselves and others. There’s even an entire concept of leadership that revolves around motivating others to strive for goals, rather than simply follow the orders that are passed down. The more driven a leader is, and the more he shares that drive with his team, the better the group will function as a whole.
Passion for the Project You’re Working On
Even though it is intangible, your passion for your career and goals is visible to all those you work with. The strongest leaders use that visible passion as a tool to inspire others and promote a confident attitude. However, smart leaders also know how to balance their passionate ideas with the rest of their life so that their personal goals do not swallow the rest of the company and team. Let your passion drive you to do bigger, better things, but don’t let it hinder your abilities to lead compassionately and intelligently.
A Willingness to Try New Things
Society is constantly evolving, which means that leaders must be willing to adapt to those changes. People who stay stuck in their ways and who are unwilling to embrace innovation will struggle to lead, especially when it comes to new forms of technology like mobile CRE features, organizational systems, or automation programs. Be willing to hear original ideas from others and embrace positive changes that influence your team. If you don’t, you’ll soon find your co-workers looking to others for leadership.
People want to follow leaders who have had time to grow and learn from their mistakes. This is why older people are often valued for their wisdom in most cultures. A person isn’t simply born to be a leader; their past experiences shape their leadership skills and give them the tools they need to guide others. Additionally, those skills can be continuously shaped over time through research, intention, and practice, which means that anyone can become a leader if they acquire the proper experience and knowledge.
Leaders are not always built by money or birthright. In many cases, they climb to their positions of power through the use of their impressive qualities and experience. If you are working on becoming a stronger leader, keep in mind that your passion, open-mindedness, focus, drive, and confidence will take you much further than any other traits.
About the Author:
Susan Ranford is an expert on career coaching, business advice, and workplace rights. She has written for New York Jobs, IAmWire, and ZipJob. In her blogging and writing, she seeks to shed light on issues related to employment, business, and finance to help others understand different industries and find the right job fit for them.