A great leader can transform a business or organization, while a poor leader can destroy one.
Leadership, in its most simple definition, is the ability to influence others while providing purpose, motivation, and direction.
There have been countless articles and books written on this subject, in addition to numerous college courses and degrees in this area.
The fortunate thing for all of us is that great leaders are made, not born, and anyone can learn how to become one if they are willing to put in the time and effort.
To get you started, and keep you on the path, start focusing on the following traits and behaviors:
Listen – There is an old proverb that states, “listen or your tongue will keep you deaf.” Listening is must for any great leader. If your people don’t feel as if their input is valued, you will quickly lose them. Also, they may give you insight that you were not aware of which can help you with your decision making.
Ethics – Ethics refer to the desirable and appropriate values and morals according to an individual or the society at large. They are also the foundation of a great leader or organization. There are countless examples of leaders and organizations that have failed because they lost their moral compass during the journey to success.
Attitude – John Maxwell has written much about the power of a person’s attitude. It is the first thing people will pick up on when interacting with you. A positive person will tend to draw people in, while a negative person will push them away. Take stock and ownership – does your attitude help or hurt you in your interaction with others?
Discipline – Too often we think of discipline is a negative way, or in terms of punishment. A highly disciplined leader, however, is in control of their emotions and behaviors. They do not fly off the handle and put their employees on edge when things don’t go right. When times are tough, and people are looking for direction, a great leader maintains their composure and leads the way.
Empathy – Empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective. Stephen Covey calls this “seek first to understand, then be understood.” People are not robots. When managing or leading a team, it is important to know where each person is coming from to help motivate and bridge the gap between your expectations and their abilities.
Respect -To earn the respect of others, we must first be able to give it. Leaders sometime get caught up in their own self importance, but there are simple ways for leaders to show respect to those around them.
Anyone can do it with a little bit of effort, but do you have what it takes to be a LEADER?