5 Character Traits of Great Leaders?
Want to be a great leader or manager? Let’s face it, everyone is not a great leader. But if we want to become great leaders, what does it take? Being a leader takes a conscious effort, and one of the best things we can do is lean on the example of others. In this post, we look at great leaders throughout history and what helps separate them from the pack. We’ve examined their leadership styles and distilled that information into 5 key traits that make them exceptional leaders.
1. Be a masterful communicator
No matter how great your potential is and how excellent your ideas are, if you cannot get a clear message across to the people you want to lead, it’s meaningless. Extraordinary leaders are proficient communicators.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.“Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill, the UK Prime Minister, was remembered for his being an effective communicator in the face of crisis. Most of his famous quotes are concise and to the point because he knew they are more powerful and likely to be remembered.
Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his messages in persuasive ways and used repetition, done in an inclusive and non-alienating way, to demand civil rights and justice.
As an aspiring leader, learn to use words to your advantage. Listen more and seek to understand and establish rapport and open communication lines with your people.
2. Articulate your sense of foresight and vision
A brilliant leader knows where he is at, where he wants to go, and visualizes the path towards it.
George Washington, the founding father of the US, was a true visionary and the plans that he has set for his country-a citizen-led republic free from military strong men- have lived on for the past 200 years.
Likewise, Julius Caesar was one of the best military strategists of all time because he included his troop’s desires in framing his military goals. He singlehandedly led the expansion of the Roman Empire through his numerous campaign victories.
Develop strategic plans with your team and cast a collective vision for them to drive towards.
3. Be determined to excel and persevere
A leader will not only cast vision, but will have the strongest of will, to face problems along the way and seek to overcome without resignation.
Mahatma Gandhi determined to excel at what he did and used non-violent ways to lead India to independence in 1947.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.“
Similarly, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for almost 30 years but did not let his sentence demotivate him to unite his country under his leadership.
Set your mind to your goals and persevere to achieve them. Prepare for difficulties by anticipating them and taking steps to overcome.
Your thirst for knowledgeservice to othersself-sacrificeresiliencemakes you a leader.
4. Seek to motivate and lead by example
It’s not enough that you endure and persevere, you have to get your people to do it with you. You have to provide motivation to the people who are looking to you for inspiration and direction.
John Maxwell said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” He has sold millions of books on leadership and speaks to Fortune 500 companies to continually impact leaders around the world. Similarly, Henry Ford pioneered the mass production of automobiles not by his own money but by leading people towards the goals that he has set and showing them the way.
Be a source of motivation to your people and show them how to do things by leading the way.
5. Be a person of integrity and humility
Great leaders are the same in all kinds of situations. They are transparent in all they do. And they exude humility.
Mother Teresa spent her whole life helping the less fortunate. She once said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.” Also, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, once said that “without integrity, leadership is hollow.” He was known as “Honest Abe” all his life and was admired for his genuine leadership in words, deeds, and actions.
“Without integrity, leadership is hollow.” – Abraham Lincoln – 16th president of the U.S.
Be an authentic person to your people and humble enough to admit that you make mistakes but seek to improve based on those mistakes. Let all your dealings speak of truthfulness and integrity.
What will propel an aspiring leader or an average leader to become an extraordinary one? The desire to understand more, the willingness to connect to people with thoughtful words, the ability to cast vision and direction, the caring to be there when times are tough, the aspiration to inspire, the want to lead by example, and the ability to remain humble through it all.
You can be a life-changing leader. You just need to take that first step.
RECAP: 5 Character Traits of Great Leaders
- Be a masterful communicator
- Articulate your sense of foresight and vision
- Be determined to excel and persevere
- Seek to motivate and lead by example
- Be a person of integrity and humility
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