We have seen many companies over the decades which could not compete with the competition and globalization. Among the ones that did succeed, most could not sustain their position in the market.
But leaders like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Warren Buffet, with their vision, unshakable determination, and persistent hard work, led their respective companies to great heights. With their belief and strong leadership qualities, they gave a new dimension to the world of business.
This blog, though, is not about them but about the great leadership qualities that help people make their company great, achieve greatness, bring new transformations in the world.
Before deep-diving into the leadership qualities, lets understanding leadership in brief.
What is Leadership?
According to John Maxwell, "Leadership is influence - nothing more, nothing less."
Warren Bennis called it the capacity to translate vision into reality.
If you google the term 'leadership,' you will find endless definitions of leadership by the great minds and leaders of our times.
But, after having worked with some great leaders and being in a leadership position for the past decade myself, the understanding I have developed on the same is that "Leadership is the ability to influence the crowd to believe, act, and work with perseverance to attain the greater good."
Being a great leader is not a cakewalk. They must have qualities which not only keeps them apart from the crowd but also helps them attain the unattainable. Be it resistance and persistence of Mahatma Gandhi or vision of Elon Musk.
Here in this blog, I will talk about the core and unconventional leadership qualities that help leaders to achieve greater success
1. Honesty and Integrity:
Honesty and Integrity is a core quality every leader must possess. You cannot run any business if you lack honesty and integrity. Self-development author, Brian Tracy says that whenever he holds a strategic business meeting, the first value every executive agrees on is Integrity.
Business leaders know that honesty and integrity are the foundations of good leadership, and they stand for what they believe. Leaders inspire with this active principle and never compromise no matter how tough the situation is. They never make false promises or take shortcuts. They choose their thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain. They always stick to their words and take the path that is ethically and morally right. This is a necessary quality that pays the dividend in the long run.
An innovative leader is not necessarily a creative genius with thought-provoking ideas but is also someone who encourages and gives others the freedom to come up with their ideas. You would always find people with great ideas who lack the will and determination, and fears taking any actions to make it successful.
Innovative people are always open to new ideas and discussions. They listen to everyone actively and also motivate others to think out of the box. This quality gives them an edge over others in the business world since they are always in hunt for better prospects and innovations. As the innovative leader, Steve Jobs himself said 'Innovations distinguishes between a leader and a follower.'
A visionary leader is someone who is far-sighted and is driven and inspired by what a company can become. Visionary leaders work hard for the greater good and keep themselves updated with time and change. Following a vision for the future with perseverance and keeping everybody invested in the process is what a visionary leader does.
A visionary leader is ready to take risks and unconventional decisions if it helps the organization in the long run.
4. Strong Communicator:
We all know how important it is to be an excellent communicator. An effective leader knows how to put across his message articulately. They acquire the ability to be a good orator and communicate effectively to get his/her work done. They are not loud or harsh; they choose words and expressions which suit the situation and equally allow others to express their thoughts and ideas freely.
They are very conscious and learn from the behaviors of the people around them, which gives them a deep understanding of human complexities. They have the necessary communication skills and don’t hesitate to hone it more for the greater good.
Good leaders adapt. They shift. They don't remain static because the world around them does not remain static.
What do you when you are hit by uncertainty? Either in general or in the organization, uncertain problems or changes can completely change the game for you.
Applying new technologies, recruiting new talents, and improving communication processes are consistent and recurring problems in any organization.
One of the major issues for organizations in 2019 is understanding the millennials, what they want, and how to keep them invested in their jobs. Millennials are smart, active, enthusiastic, and at the same time, vulnerable. It is, therefore, crucial for the leaders to understand this aspect and give them a working experience that benefits both the parties.
Adaptive leaders identify these problems and look for possible solutions. They adapt with time and keep themselves relevant for sustainability.
6. Decision-making Skill:
Great leaders are decisive and know how to make decisions that help the organization, employees, stakeholders, and customers.
You would never envision a leader who is unclear and uncertain. Great leaders are aware of the fact of how their decisions can make or break businesses. They evaluate a given circumstance many a time before coming to any conclusion. They collect the necessary information required before making any announcements. Also, they do not believe rumors but examine a situation or a problem themselves before making a decision.
7. Having a Fair and Unbiased Attitude:
Let's face it; we all have personal biases. One who can think and act beyond this loop is what makes them different from the crowd. These biases are one of the factors why all the leaders can't become great.
Great leaders are unbiased and fair to the employees, and all the organization's processes and people associated with it. They acknowledge the good and always make room for everyone to thrive together.
They understand it well that nothing significant has ever achieved with an attitude that is unfair and biased. Even if it does, the sustainability of the outcome is always questionable.
Good leaders not only keep biases and unfairness out of the window but also create a culture that does not promote or acknowledge this attitude.
Have you ever watched great leaders sharing stories and their experiences in Ted-talks? I presume you have. If you haven't, I highly recommend you do.
You would realize how knowledgeable and curious these leaders are and how they are always open to learn and experience new things. Their thoughts, ideas, and perceptions are unique and thought-provoking.
The reason behind this is their inquisitiveness and curiosity from life. They pursue various interests and keep themselves invested in it. They are open to broadening their spectrum through art, technology, science, and, in fact, all the know-how of the world.
This quality keeps them sane and also helps them create a more rational and positive attitude towards the problems in the workplace.
One of the basic leadership traits of great leaders is their ability to motivate others. Good leaders always motivate their employees and boost their morale when needed. They sail their boat smooth even in havoc situations. They keep themselves self-motivated and set an example to follow.
10. Humility and Will:
Humble leaders make the best leaders. This statement is not something I am claiming to be true. Jim Collins, in his seminal book 'Good to Great,' shows extensive research data on how humble and willful leaders not only help their companies grow but also help it to sustain its position in the market.
Humility is not the first trait that comes to mind when we think about leadership. But it is one of the essential qualities of a good leader. It may be because humility often gets overshadowed by the flamboyance of the celebrated leadership qualities.
Humble and willful leaders understand the fact that leadership is all about working for the greater good. They lead to transform, not dominate. They are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and always yearn to learn and contribute more.
11. Care for Others:
Great leaders understand the value of the balance between work and life. They know how important is the health and wellness of the people associated with the organization. They inspire their team members and also make sure the staff, clients, beneficiaries, and customers feel trusted.
They understand the importance of appreciating and recognizing employees and help create a culture of mutual respect and understanding within the organization.
They work towards giving them an environment where everyone can flourish.
Good leadership is in developing discipline in others. Good leaders are self-disciplined and promote a culture where people are disciplined. This is a quality in which people can adapt themselves with persistence. When you are self-disciplined and set an example, you motivate others to follow.
In an organization where everything is so fast-paced, and employees get occupied with so much workload, being more discipline can help achieve more and keep the work environment at ease.
13. Emotional Intelligence:
Emotional Intelligence is the capability to identify, manage, evaluate and understand our own emotions and also of the people around us.
According to the psychologist, Daniel Goleman, EI has five components-
- Motivation and
- Social skills
Good leaders are self-aware, act in control, take calculated decisions without getting carried away. They understand other's perspectives without being cynical. They are self-motivated and have strong social skills, which help them build connections and healthy relationships.
These explain that great leaders have a high degree of Emotional Intelligence. This is why EI is one of the essential leadership attributes.
The Bottom line:
Every leader has an urge to lead, inspire, and contribute to the greater good. And this is why you need the right leadership qualities to guide you. No one can possess all these leadership qualities.
Therefore, leaders should roll up their sleeves and exercise these leadership skills for sustainable growth and success.
If you have reached here, I would like to presume that you have gained some new perspectives on these critical leadership qualities and how these qualities help people achieve greater heights professionally.
Do write your thoughts below if you have some more exciting and informative views on the same.
For some motivation read 50 leadership Quotes To Inspire The Leader Within You