A great leader is one who can see their role as the catalyst for change and is an essential part of our society. They shape it, make the crucial decisions that keep things moving and guide us through times when we need help most.
We all need outstanding leaders to help shape our organizations, communities, and nations. But how do you know if someone’s an outstanding leader? What does it take to become one of those high-impact individuals everyone looks up to?
What makes a great leader?
Great leaders are not born
Most of us have heard the expression that someone is a “natural born leader”. This expression claims that prominent leaders are born with certain qualities.
However, there was a study done on developmental and genetic factors of leadership role occupancy among women. It was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology and researchers found that only one-third of the difference in leadership qualities is associated with genetics.
This just means that you can develop and improve leadership qualities over time. To speed up this process, outstanding leaders focus on experiential learning.
Many successful organizations have proven that experiential learning is a powerful tool in the development of future leaders. As other organizations recognize its benefits, they are putting it into use for this purpose more often than ever before.
You may not be the most skilled or experienced person in your field, but that doesn’t mean you can never lead others. In fact, many great leaders started out as average people who had to develop leadership skills before they became successful at it!
Great leaders focus on self-awareness
You need to know yourself before you can lead anyone else. All your qualities and flaws will help shape who you are as a person. There is nothing wrong with striving for more than just being satisfied with what’s comfortable or familiar because it takes courage, and sometimes failure, to create change within ourselves.
We can use all that is good but also bad about us as fuel if we’re brave enough to face our fears head on with honesty and courage.
The benefits have been proven time-and again. People who lead themselves often shift towards selflessness. You have the power to change, grow, learn from mistakes – all while being committed enough in face of discomfort.
Great leaders demonstrate integrity
A leader with integrity is one who always does what’s right and puts others before themselves. This person will have firm principles which ensure that they made these decisions for the betterment of all parties involved. A person with integrity is trustworthy and reliable.
Outstanding leaders are people who display these traits to lead fairly and justly. They have a strong sense of character, keep their promises, and display integrity through daily actions. Leading with integrity will earn respect and loyalty from employees and everyone else around you.
Great leaders are reliable
One of the single most important characteristics to have as a prominent leader is reliability. To be dependable means that people can rely on you when it comes time to decide and make hard choices, because they know their needs will always come first with you around.
As leaders, we need to ensure that the people in our teams and businesses deliver on their promises. A team or business with reliable results is only made up of individuals who can always be counted on for a job well done. If you want the percentage of committed people in your organization to go up, then invest time into developing a culture where these traits are valued.
Great leaders take responsibility
Being a human comes with its own set of challenges. One thing that can be daunting for any person is to take ownership of their mistakes and admit when things have gone wrong.
This takes more than just being receptive, it also means taking risks without always knowing the outcome will work out in your favor. Odds which are against every single one of us!
When you make a mistake, don’t try to shift the blame onto someone else. Be upfront with your team and take ownership of what went wrong. People will follow an honest leader who takes responsibility.
Great leaders are team players
A great leader knows they can’t do everything themselves. They delegate tasks appropriately and show their team that they trust them with responsibilities, while also being ready to step in when needed.
Outstanding leaders know how important this attitude of support really is because, without it, they might have more challenges down the road. That’s why it’s essential to inspire confidence in your team when times get tough, so they will know they have your full support.
Great leaders serve as role models
To become a great leader, it is important to model the qualities you want to see in your team members. Studies have found that outstanding leaders can inspire their people and create an optimistic environment. This is where standards for performance and achievement can thrive because influential leaders walk the walk and talk the talk.
Being an outstanding leader means you have high standards of accountability for yourself and your behaviors. You need to set an example that others will follow, so they know what’s expected of them in return. That way, it becomes more than just words. There is someone who embodies the values you’re trying to achieve as a team member.
Great leaders appreciate their people
To lead people, you must know them too. If a leader doesn’t understand her employees’ motivations and values, she will struggle to get results from them. Sometimes just listening carefully can be all that’s needed.
People want more than anything else some recognition in what they’re doing at work. Recent studies from Harvard Business Review have shown that 40% of employees would work harder if leaders recognized them more. Make sure your team feels heard, appreciated, and recognized.
Great leaders communicate effectively
Another important quality of great leaders involves a focus on providing one-on-one communication with group members. This is effective when leaders can communicate their vision to people, who then feel inspired and motivated by this vision.
Prominent leaders should express sincere care and concern for the members of their group, both verbally and nonverbally.
By keeping the lines of communication open, these leaders can ensure that group members feel able to make contributions and receive recognition for their achievements.
What makes a great leader?
The path to being a great leader is not always easy. It takes time, patience and understanding for everyone in the organization to make it work out successfully.
When you create this culture that allows people on your team to grow into what they’re capable of with no limitations or boundaries set by either side; then success will come quickly because everyone involved wants nothing more than to see each other succeed!