“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” - Jack Welch
Let’s get this straight from the get go; there is no such thing as a natural born leader. Regardless of how much power and influence one may have been born into, leadership is a learned skill. Sure, it comes easier to some and we can’t ignore that there are those who enjoy a quicker route to the top, but in order to stay there, to keep growing their influence, they had to cultivate some key qualities.
Leadership is not a title, it’s a mindset, a way of being. Whether you have your sights on management, the C-level Suite, or run your own business, you’d do well to begin integrating these qualities into your everyday life now, for habits only become habits with practice.
Here are 6 things great leaders know.
- They Speak Less, Listen More
The only way to get a broad understanding of any situation is to first listen to what other’s have to say. Take everything in, consider all sides of the story before formulating your response. Then, once you’ve considered what it is you want to contribute, concision is the key to effective communication.
When you are willing to listen more and speak less, others will feel more valued if you are willing to hear them out. When you do speak, people will be far more apt to listen.
- They Value Integrity
A good leader, one who motivates and drives a successful team, is first and foremost a model of reliability and accountability. Reliability is won by doing what you say you’re going to do, when you said you’re going to do it. And then going one step further to take responsibility should things go sideways.
- They Are Always Adapting
There has to be more than one solution to any given problem, and a good leader knows this to be true. Rigidity kills innovation, leaving no room for new ideas to bloom. Certainly there may be standards and procedures that must be adhered to, but a good leader leaves room for creativity to bloom.
- They Communicate
While this may sound at first like a contradiction of Speak less, Listen more, it’s in fact an important pillar of good leadership. Assumptions not only cause conflict and wasted time and resources, they diminish trust. Once again concision is the key - it takes less time to communicate clearly with your boss, your team, your customers than it does to clean up the mess left behind by confusion and miscommunication.
- They Know It’s All In The Timing
Patience is a virtue, so we are told, and it’s also a key to understanding what true leadership means. Now is not always the best time to hold that meeting, to send that email, to ask your boss to assign you to that project. Just as entrepreneurs know that there must be a period of sacrifice before success, planning ahead and being willing to be patient often means the rewards will be all the sweeter.
- They Know the Goal.
The point of being a leader is not glory or accolades, or even the biggest office. In business, the goal it to build a strong company and ensure that everyone succeeds. Ego, selfishness, competition and other cut-throat tactics might get you ahead in the short term, but a career to be proud of is built on stronger material.
Great leaders are not born, they are made from integrity, respect and hard work.
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