“Leadership consists not in degrees of technique but in traits of character…” – Lewis H. Lapham
When we think of the word “leader,” a certain stereotype often comes to mind. While the definitions and stories behind what leadership is and means can differ from person to person, there are common traits that we often associate with it. When we think of what makes a great leader, we look at more than just their strategy and intellect – we look at who they are.
Here are ten traits every leader should possess.
1. Determination: A great leader has more than just a vision. They have a commitment to seeing that vision through and are willing to put in whatever hard work or elbow grease they need in order to make that vision a reality.
2. Confidence: It’s important to be able to inspire and believe in the people who look to you, which is impossible if you don’t believe in yourself. A great leader knows their strength and owns that confidence without being arrogant.
3. Attentiveness: Listening and paying attention to the world and people around you is essential to being an effective leader. An engaged leader knows when to push and when to take a step back.
4. Honesty: Make honest, ethical behavior a priority to your team by exhibiting transparency with them. Your company is a reflection of yourself and loyalty and trust are key components to any successful business.
5. Responsibility: A good leader takes responsibility for their actions and doesn’t shift blame or try to excuse their mistakes. They face their challenges head on and own up to things they’ve done wrong.
6. Persuasion: Accomplishing a goal takes a team and being a leader means being able to guide people and inspire them to work together. Being able to effectively communicate a vision and persuade someone to work toward it is half the battle.
7. Competence: Being a leader means possessing the ability to get the job done. A leader can have the right vision, the right words, and the right strategy, but none of that matters if they can’t follow through.
8. Creativity: The road to success is not a straight and easy one. Often, you will be faced with obstacles and decisions that require quick-thinking and deviating from the path. Problem solving and creative solutions will get you where you need to go.
9. Optimism: There will be times of struggle and weeks where it might seem as if you’ll never reach your goal. It’s important to remain hopeful and have faith in the vision you’ve created.
10. Teachability: A great leader knows they don’t have all of the knowledge or answers. They are willing to learn from everyone around them, no matter how small or big the lesson is. There is something to be learned from every success and every failure.