Many of us aspire to great leadership. But how do we recognize what great leadership even looks like? What are the attributes that make leaders great?
Here’s one of the most important: Highly effective leaders don’t rely on what they know but constantly work to improve who they are and what they do. Success usually lies between who you are and who you want to be, what you want to do and where you want to go.
Here are seven other attributes that great leaders tend to share. Think about which you should be incorporating into your own leadership—and remember that when success is within your reach, you still have to stretch to get to it.
1. They know how to forecast. You’d think that most leaders would spend their time thinking of what needs to get done today, but truly great leaders are visionaries who spend significant time forecasting the future. Truly great leaders look ahead. They see things not through the lens of current realities but in light of future possibilities. They know that present circumstances don’t determine how far they can go, only where they need to start.
2. They know how to formulate. Effective leaders can take a vision and formulate it into a well-organized plan that others can manage and follow. They know where they want to take others, and the plan articulates how they’ll get there. The best leaders keep in mind the importance of translating their vision into a reality.
3. They know how to present. Successful leaders are able to communicate and demonstrate a plan for action. They know how to get the right people in the right roles to get the job done well. They’re great at communicating complex problems in simple terms that people can understand. They’re able to share information in a way that people get it. For truly great leaders, communication must be HOT: Honest, Open and Two-way.
4. They know how to trust. Even the most talented, skilled leaders know that they cannot accomplish everything on their own, and they know how to trust others to get the job done. Confidence in your people is crucial; it allows you to focus on the things that only you can do, without feeling the need to micromanage others. Truly great leaders know this and because they trust their people, their people in turn trust them.
5. They know how to manage. A successful leader is someone who can not only lead but also manage. They know how to manage themselves before managing When they set goals for others—when they decide what work needs to be done and how to facilitate those goals so they get done—they are setting an example of effective management themselves by focusing on others to get things done.
6. They know how to expedite: Truly great leaders know how to facilitate and promote and stimulate their people by making what needs to happen a priority. They’re good at following through on plans and making sure everyone knows their role, serving as a catalyst and allowing their team to work together to get things done.
7. They know how to motivate. The best leaders are able to inspire and motivate people into taking action. They have the charisma and the character that inspire others to follow them. They’re able to lead by example, because they refuse to ask others to do what they can do for themselves. In setting a strong example, they motivate their people to do the same.
Lead from Within: The best leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.
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