Upon hearing the word leader, what comes to mind? Is it the president of the company or a manager? Generally, a leader is someone who holds a position of power and tells others what to do. Finding a great leader is often like finding a needle in a haystack. Find out the difference between a run-of-the-mill leader and a truly great one with the following top five qualities of great leaders.
1. They are Visionaries
Without a vision, there is no direction or end goal in sight. Therefore, great leaders think with the future in mind in order to plan the best route to reach their goal. This may be a CEO who wants to enter a new market, or a small business owner starting his first company. Each and every leader needs to have a vision of where they are going, which is thought out in fine detail. This is the driving force of success, and the vision which will be shared with others to get them moving in the same direction. Vision is used to inspire and motivate toward a greater end.
2. They are Decision Makers
The second quality a leader must possess in order to be great is the willingness and confidence to make decisions. Decisions can carry a wide range of consequences, which may be good or bad. Decisions can also carry risks for the company, which can be intimidating. However, a great leader will weigh the pros and cons and isn’t afraid to make a tough call. They examine the variety of options, consider all those who will be affected by the decision and use their intuition to make the call with the best of his or her ability. The leader will stand up to criticism confidently; explain their choice; and accept the consequences. If problems arise, the leader accepts this and learns for the future. All this considered, a great leader will step up and make decisions frequently and promptly.
3. They have Integrity
Integrity is the foundation of a great leader and depends upon the leader being honest, consistent and transparent. The leader with integrity can achieve their goals by telling the truth and keeping their word without the use of manipulation. The words and deeds of the leader form a coherent whole, which is consistent in thought and action, regardless of the place and circumstances. This attribute encourages people to trust their leader and remain loyal to their vision.
4. They Cooperate
A great leader understands that getting people to do what they want comes from cooperation, not dictatorship. A great leader will work with their employees to share their vision, motivate, encourage, and create a system of accountability. They will delegate responsibilities and build trust with others. Great leaders achieve their visions through cooperation and the help of their teams. It is about choice not force; inspiration not fear.
5. They Hold Themselves Accountable
Lastly, a great leader takes accountability for all of their actions and results. They will own up to successes and failures, looking for ways to improve. They will also hold their teams accountable through a fair and well-understood infrastructure.
Being a great leader is no easy task. To be responsible for leading others and to be good at it requires work. It requires looking to the future, making weighted decisions, and demonstrating good communication. It requires being involved and ensuring first-hand that your vision is being implemented. For more tips to become a great leader, try the KnowledgeCity courses: Leading an Organization and Project Management.