They say leaders are born. While there is some truth to that I believe people can learn to be leaders through experience. In order for one to become successful you must develop leadership skills. What makes a great leader? Throughout history we have had great leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Donald Trump, Bill Gates, or John F. Kennedy. What leadership qualities did they possess that others didn’t have? Would you like to be a leader or a follower?
Here are my top 10 qualities that make great leaders:
1. Excellent Communication Skills – The ability to address your followers in a way where they understand the message you are trying to get across. If you look back at history all the great leaders possessed this skill. John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. spoke with passion and were able to relate their message to millions of people.
2. High Energy Along With A Positive Outlook – Great leaders are highly passionate about what they do. This passion rubs off on their employees and followers. Just take for instance Mahatma Ghandi. Just one man was able to galvanize the people of India leading them to independence from British rule.
3. They Make Tough Calls – A great leader does not worry about being popular. They do what they believe is right to move their organization in the right direction to get results. Their decisions may not be popular all the time but deep down inside they believe it’s the right decision.
When Martin Luther King Jr. began the civil rights movement he knew he was going put himself in danger against many southern whites who believe blacks should be segregated. Despite of being beaten, jailed, and receiving death threats he continued with his dream of a free society. He was just one man but his vision galvanized an entire nation to take action for change.
4. Develop Excellent Delegation Skills – Great leaders know they cannot succeed entirely on their own. In order to achieve their objectives they need a great team behind them who can help get their message out. One of the best ways to do this is to create a culture where everyone takes responsibility in their organization.
You don’t need to be the owner, CEO or president of a company to make a difference. Even if you are a janitor you can still become a leader in your area by taking responsibility and doing your job to the best of your ability. This work ethic rubs off on other staff members in your department. It sets a shining example for junior workers in your department to follow your lead.
5. Incredible Vision – To be a great leader you must know where you are going in the future. All great leaders have a vision, and a plan on how to get there.
Poor leaders have no vision. They try to navigate by the seat of their pants hoping for a positive result. This will never work. It’s like trying to get to another city without a road map. You won’t have an idea on how to get there or how long it will take.
President Kennedy had a great vision. He promised the American public that the United States would send a man to the moon before the end of the sixties. Although he was assassinated before his dream was realized. The United States through meticulous training, innovation, and extensive studies did achieve the moon landing in July, 1969.
6. They Believe In Themselves – Unshakable confidence is the hallmark of a great leader. No matter how bad things get their confidence and energy levels are always high. Great leaders will face stressful setbacks but their resolve will be strong during times of crisis.
When I think of these traits, Donald Trump comes to mind. He was in debt at one time of over 1 billion dollars but came back to pay it all off. Most people declare bankruptcy over being in debt $30,000.
John F. Kennedy had to stare down the Russians during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The world held their breath as they came within a whisker of nuclear war. With the possibility of the human race being wiped out resting on his shoulders he managed to divert nuclear disaster. He convinced the Russians to remove the missiles from Cuba without firing a single shot.
7. You Need To Be A Role Model – In order for your staff or followers to believe in you, you must set a high standard they will look up too. I was watching the show Kitchen Nightmares the other night where two owners were afraid of disciplining their staff. One of the owners would come in late and leave early. The staff felt leaderless. As a result, some of the staff did whatever they wanted. It was chaos! Some drank on the job, others would serve rotten food.
Chef Ramsay took these owners aside to make them take responsibility in their restaurant. As a result, every staff member where now made accountable for their jobs. The owners also changed for the better by becoming better leaders which filtered down to their staff.
8. The Ability To Create Opportunities – Great leaders see golden opportunities that others don’t see. When things look bleak poor leaders look for excuses. Great leaders have open minds, sit back, analyze the situation before taking the appropriate action.
My father was great a doing this. He had made many poor business decisions when he first started but he learned from his past failures. I still remember when a local food supplier called him to buy 3 trucks of onions which were starting to rot. They offered them to him for $2 a bag but he had to take all of them. I remember the smell when they arrived at the warehouse. He got all of us to go through each bag the peal the rotting out layer off and re bag them.
He ended up selling the same bag for $15 making a net profit of $13 per bag. The restaurant owners loved it as the onions came pre-peeled. They didn’t have to do the initial prep work when they cooked them for their customers. An extra benefit because it saved the restaurant time.
9. Always Learning New Things – A leader is never satisfied with the status quo. They thirst for knowledge. Continuing to improve their skills through courses or reading. I like to spend one to two hours each morning learning a new skill for business, personal development or on martial arts. All these small steps add up and gives me an advantage on my competition.
10. Always Seek Solutions Where Others See Problems – Great leaders look for ways to remove obstacles in the most efficient way in order for their organization to be the best. They have an open mind to seek new and better ways of doing things.
Do these qualities describe you? Perhaps you want to be a leader but didn’t know what it took to get there? If you want to be a great leader start working on these qualities today. Before you know it you will be at the top.
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Have a great day!