Take The Lead: 5 Powerful Qualities Found In Any Great Leader

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"A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” Learn the 5 powerful qualities of any great leader.

According to John Maxwell, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”.

Being a leader is one of the most rewarding yet most difficult jobs in any organization. Whether it’s among a group of friends or running a company, successful leaders tend to share certain characteristics.

Although it may seem like some people are born to be leaders, the truth is leadership qualities can be learned and with enough practice any individual can rise from being the quiet, shy guy (or girl) to being the person who people always look up to. Learn the 5 powerful qualities of any great leader.

1. Effective Communicator

One of the most important traits of successful managers is the ability to communicate their vision and goals effectively. If you can’t communicate your message effectively, you can’t be a good leader. Effective managers understand the power of words and have learned to use this power to motivate and inspire their teams.

Some of the most influential leaders in history had great public speaking skills. They were able to move people and make them do even the most unthinkable things.

Are you looking to be a great communicator? Some of the great leaders in today’s business world were not naturally gifted public speakers. They may have begun practicing within small groups, and with time, they improved and gained the confidence to communicate their message in an efficient manner

2. Accountability and Responsibility

Rather than making excuses for setbacks, great leaders take all responsibilities for the consequences of their actions as well as the implications their decisions have had on their subordinates. Instead of blaming and criticizing others when things go wrong, effective managers focus on finding solutions.

Other than being accountable and taking responsibility for their actions, an effective leader should also inspire integrity among his or her juniors by taking less of the credit for any achievements observed. By demonstrating accountability and integrity, leaders inspire their juniors to have discipline and a high standard of ethical behavior.

A leader should always aim to speak the truth no matter the situation and demand honesty and accountability from his/her subordinates as well. Being truthful encourages your juniors also to be truthful, which, in turn, build a culture of trust within the organization, which is necessary for the success of any venture.

3. Strategic Thinking and Planning

To become an effective leader, you need to have the foresight to anticipate future events and the possible ways to survive. A great leader should be forward thinking and open-minded. According to a business report by Harvard, leaders should be able to adjust their strategies to capture new trends and tackling unexpected changes.

All great leaders in history had the ability to look and plan ahead of time. They were able to assess their environment (whether business or political) and in turn planned for unexpected opportunities and problems.

To develop the skill of strategic thinking, you need to be curious and interested in your industry, have a flexible mindset, and be willing to try new ideas. Strategic thinking also involves maintaining a positive outlook.

4. Courage

Courage is one of the most identifiable leadership qualities. According to Aristotle, with courage, it is possible to achieve all other virtues.

Great leaders are not afraid to follow their goals irrespective of the risks involved.

The most effective leaders in history were courageous enough to stand up for their beliefs, actions, and goals, and in turn, were rewarded through unending success in all their ventures.

As a leader, you will need to courage to make hard and bold choices that most people would not be able to make. On most occasions, you will have to make decisions that may disagree with some of your colleagues but you need to be firm and believe in yourself.

Courage also means being able to take risks in the pursuit of the organization’s goals. This may include being ready to take up innovation and to experiment with new products and services.

To develop courage, you should first understand that life is full of uncertainties. Every action you take is a risk, and it is only through having the courage to face these uncertainties that you will achieve success. All great leaders in history experienced failure but gathered the courage to get back up and try again.

It would help if you also learned to accept failures and learn from them. It takes courage to make decisions, especially if you know these decisions may result in failure. It takes even more courage to take risks after experiencing failure.

5. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes. Great leaders are able to understand and recognizing others' feelings and perspectives. As a leader, you cannot effectively lead people if you don’t understand them. It is only through empathy that you are able to inspire and engage with your subordinates.

Although the success of an organization or achieving your goals is important, you need to remember that your subordinates are people who may experience different issues outside work. Understanding who they are and how they feel will allow you to lead them even during bad times.

One way to develop empathy as a leader is to have regular informal conversations with your colleagues. Through these discussions, you create a personal connection and in turn, learn their desires and fears.

Titles Don't Make Leaders, Actions Do

To be a great leader, you need to have these five virtues and more. Successful leaders are also visionary, have high emotional intelligence, are persuasive and influential, and are always working to improve themselves. You will need to practice on improving all these virtues constantly.

Start developing these leadership skills now, improve on the skills that you may be lacking and work to perfect those that you own.
Want more tips on inspiring your subordinates? Check out our blog for more tips and ideas.