Leadership means “the ability to lead; an act or instance of leading; guidance; direction”. The term leadership is used in many forms to describe many things but is ultimately the act of leading people in a certain direction.
Following are some leadership characteristics that successful leaders demonstrate and develop through their own professional journey.
Leaders influence other to get things done. They help others see what needs to be done and shows them the path forward. Anyone can be a leader – kids can be leaders. Did your mom ever say, “She’s a bad influence on you”? That means that person influences your thoughts and behaviors. Positive influence is what we’re going for. Leaders have effects on us that we are sometimes not even aware of.
Help Others See Things at 50,000 feet (the BIG picture)
Leaders are big picture thinkers and can rise above the day-to-day and immediate and can see things from a broad perspective. They have the ability to get people excited about where they’re going and how to get there.
Gives Others the Benefit of the Doubt
Effective leaders always give others the benefit of the doubt and believe the best in people. A true leader first gathers all the facts before drawing final conclusions. It’s amazing how one-sided a situation can look and how very different it seems when you have all the information. My husband always says there are three sides to every story. Make sure you know all the facts before making judgments.
Leaders have credibility with those they lead. What this means is a leader does what they say and says what they mean. They are the same no matter who they are around and are honest with their communications and interactions with others.
Leaders are gifted teachers and master the art of coaching others in development. They teach leadership principles and help others to develop their own creditability. They help others see areas that can be improved and coach them on how to make those improvements.
Leaders develop others and learn to delegate responsibilities. This includes allowing others to make mistakes and helping them learn from it. Mistakes are the best teachers and allowing others to learn from their own mistakes is an invaluable lesson.
Leaders are gifted at empowering others to take responsibility and risks. Taking risks is part of the development and learning process. People need to be comfortable taking risks and learning from mistakes.
Leaders have a high level of integrity and adhere to honesty, moral and ethical principles. They demonstrate these behaviors to others and do it consistently.
Trust and Respect
Leaders are able to gain trust and respect from others. Their behaviors are predictable and consistent.
Leaders are team players and work with others to get things done. They operate out of a win-win philosophy and help others come to agreement and encourage collaboration in tasks.
Effective leaders are able to recognize success and help their team celebrate those successes. This is a critical component in team function and development.
Have Right Priorities
Leaders have a good understanding of their personal priorities and are able to keep all aspects of their lives balanced. Leaders understand the importance of setting personal boundaries and giving family as much focus and attention as their professional lives.
Have you had any leaders in your life who have influenced you to get you to where you are?