The best leaders exhibit certain traits that make them hugely successful. While a leader’s actions may be scrutinized at all times, there are qualities that make leaders stand apart from the rest. The successful leader knows to apply the traits that have made other leaders strong. What has made other leaders strong is that they know, what they know and what they need to know.
Every successful leader needs to know the following:
Make effective decisions. Great leaders are decisive and proactive. They maintain preparation and stay well informed on every issue so they’re ready to make even difficult decisions on the fly. To be a great decision maker requires building consistent sources of good information, organizing that information in a way that allows you to access what you need to know and connecting the dots where you need to. People may say you have great instincts for making the right decision, but it really comes down to preparation.
Skillful problem solving. Recurrent problems are often symptoms of deeper issues. Quick fixes may seem convenient and smart, but they usually solve only the surface issues, wasting time and resources that could be devoted to a real solution. For getting to the root of any issue, I teach my clients to use the technique of the five whys. If you’re ever been around a preschooler, you know how it works. Drill down to the root of the issue by asking “why?” five times. Then when a countermeasure becomes apparent, follow through to prevent the issue from recurring. Becoming proficient in techniques like the five whys will make you a skillful problem solver.
Identification of opportunities. Opportunities are all around us. Successful leaders know how to identify them early—not through some mysterious gift but by devoting time and effort every day to tracking and analyzing trends and tendencies in their organization, their community and their industry. They make connections and see options that are invisible to most people.
Credible leadership style. Of course there’s no single correct leadership style that works for everyone in all situations. To be credible as a leader, you need to be able to adapt your approach when necessary—but it has to be consistently authentic, something that grows out of your identity and values. Equally important is consistency between your leadership and your own actions. Even as they motivate and inspire trust, great leaders accept responsibility and hold themselves accountable for the things they say and do. Their actions, decisions and motives are all grounded in integrity and trust. Leaders become great when they motivate others to do great things just by being themselves.
If you want to be a successful leader you need to know what you know and what you don’t know. That means understanding how and when to make a decision, recognizing problems before they appear, constantly looking for opportunities to improve, and being aware of your leadership style.
Lead From Within: When people believe in who you are, they’ll likely trust your decisions and actions—and that is always the mark of a successful leader.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
THE LEADERSHIP GAP
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.