Becoming a great leader is a work in progress. There are things that will accelerate your leadership and things that will hold you back. I believe that everybody has within them the potential to be a great leader. But it all starts, and ends, with mindset.
As a coach to top executives in leading industries, I’ve been able to observe the traits that the best leaders share. Here are some of the most significant. If this sounds like you, you could be on your way to greatness. And even if it doesn’t, you can get there—but you may need to adjust your thinking first.
1. Curious. Great leaders are always curious. They never turn down the opportunity to learn new things, and they know that an opportunity to learn can come at any time. A curious mind and love of learning are part of any great leadership.
2. Positive. Great leaders know the importance of positivity. When you have to deal with the reality of life it can be easy to become pessimistic—but great leadership requires a mindset that can turn what is bad into good, what is negative into positive.
3. Attentive. A great leader is a great listener. Many of us who know the importance of communication focus on speaking and writing well but forget about the critical skill of listening. Great leadership means making yourself into a great listener and encouraging others to share their thoughts.
4. Open. Great leaders are open—to people, ideas and opportunities. If you allow people to come to you with their thoughts and ideas and visions and you listen and you take it all to heart, you have the right mindset for great leadership.
5. Empathetic. Empathy is among the most important leadership skills—it allows leaders to connect and quickly tune in to how others are feeling. Showing care and compassion to others is part of great leadership.
6. Resourceful. Great leaders know how to tap into resources. As John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Leaders know how to use whatever’s at hand and make the best of any situation. If people look to you in times of crisis, you have the resourceful mindset of a great leader.
7. Flexible. Great leaders know change is inevitable. They’re ready for anything the future brings because they embrace the very concept of change, and they never waste time trying to uphold the status quo. Great leadership means rolling with the changes.
8. Communicative. The best leaders communicate clearly and concisely. Whether it’s your long-range vision, your thoughts and opinions on a current situation, or even bad news, you need to communicate with sincerity, transparency and feeling.
9. Connected. Great leaders know the importance of connectedness. They work hard on creating and maintaining great relationships; they make it a priority to inspire, teach, support and encourage others. if you are a great networker because you genuinely love connecting with people, you have the mindset of a great leader.
10. Confident. Confidence is important for great leadership. If you accept that you are accountable for your own actions and behaviors and you are not into the blame game, if you have the confidence to admit when you are wrong and stand up when you’re right, you have the mindset of a great leader.
11. Principled. Values and convictions matter in great leadership. That means you know who you are and what you believe in, you’re committed to your values and you live your life according to those values. People feel inspired by your commitment and passion and will seek you out to connect.
12. Solution-seeker. Solutions are important to great leadership, because problems are everywhere. A future orientation will lead you to look outside the square to search for solutions, and when you find solutions you have the mindset of a great leader.
Lead from within: Great leadership comes from having a great mindset, so pay attention to what you think before it becomes how you act.
Additional articles you might enjoy:
Photo Credit: Getty Images