It’s always an interesting question to ask people when asked what they think leadership is or means, and what it means to them.
Pause for a moment before reading on and write down just ONE think that you think leadership is.
Then ask yourself what type of leader you would like to be and what skills or attributes do you currently have to help you in this role and write them down.
I thought it would be helpful to clarify what traits a good leader has or should have and how this manifests itself to others around them.
Perhaps you could go through the list and see if these were on your ONE word above or are amongst the ones you wrote down above.
There are three large and key qualities a good leader has which I’ll focus on first. The first one being integrity. Being a person who is totally honest, trustworthy and reliable is of utmost importance when leading a team. The team is reliant upon good leadership and this one is imperative for the team to trust where the leader wants to take the team and for the team to want to follow.
The second one is having a vision. Without a vision how can anyone lead anyone. It would just be moving in haphazard directions which certainly isn’t going to lead anywhere that will provide a great outcome. Think of one great leader whom you aspire to be or admire and think about the vision they have and what and how they’ve shared that with their team. Having a vision is also about being able to show everyone what that vision is, so everyone is seeing the same picture, is on the same page, and singing from the same song sheet. It’s also of course about everyone having ownership. No-one is going to want to follow anyone if they don’t like where they are going or can see why they are going there or what they will have when they arrive.
The third quality is influence. Having the ability to influence change to create a good and positive outcome is being charismatic and believable and being able to show others how they will benefit if they follow. Being able to articulate clearly and inspiring others to see they too can achieve anything they want. A great leader is about growing new leaders and being able to influence their journey to become great leaders themselves.
Other great traits are use of power, praise, self-awareness, listening (first) and hearing and empathy.
Whilst this list isn’t complete by any means I hope it helps you consider that you have many of those skills already and have put them to great use, but may have not completely realised.
The other thing is not to just think of leadership in the work, business or career sense. Being a parent means being a great leader, so being able to lead and influence our children is about growing the next generation of adults.
In our own small (or large) way we are all leaders and have great qualities.
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