Throughout my career as an entrepreneur and business coach, I have found that leadership is the focal point of all business success or failure.
“The single biggest way to impact an organisation is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organisation that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.” John Maxwell
There are key attributes, qualities and styles that I have witnessed, learnt and aspired to, that I now share with my clients to help them learn and continually develop their leadership skills. Read on to discover the eight core attributes of successful leadership.
INTEGRITY – DOING THE RIGHT THING BECAUSE IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO
In my mind, honesty and integrity are the most important qualities of great leadership in business. Integrity is the foundation of great leadership.
Great leaders stand up for what they believe in; never compromising their honesty and integrity by cheating. The best leaders emulate their company’s true values and culture through their words, actions, decisions and methodologies.
BELIEVING IN AN AMBITIOUS VISION
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” – Jack Welch
Leaders have vision and can see into the future. They share a dream and direction that other people want to share and follow.
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is well known for his visionary insight, turning an idea about e-commerce that many did not understand 20 years ago into one of the world’s most admired brands worth around $175 billion. His vision is truly defined by his goals of transforming the way people purchase products. His ability to imagine a future that we have yet to see is a reminder that great leaders believe in bold visions of the future.
EMPATHY – UNDERSTANDING NEEDS OF OTHERS AND NOT WHAT WE PERCEIVE IS REQUIRED
Showing empathy in the case of a leader means being able to understand the needs of others, their feelings, experiences and how it impacts their perception. Taking time to understand the needs of your employees enables you to provide them with the support they require to press ahead, to deal with the challenges or issues that might be holding them back from achieving their goals.
By understanding and providing employees with what they need to succeed, leaders can build a sense of trust and strengthen the relationships they have with their employees. This understanding enables you as a leader to make better predictions, craft better tactics, inspire loyalty and communicate clearly.
COURAGE TO TAKE RISKS
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela
Showing courage as a leader means that you are willing to take risks to achieve your goals; with no assurance of success. There is no certainty in life or business, every commitment you make and every action you take entails a risk of some kind.
HUMILITY GET RESULTS
Humble leaders have more influence, they attract better people, and they earn more confidence, respect and loyalty than those who rely upon ego and power.
Leaders with humility have the confidence to recognise their own weaknesses, admit when they are wrong, accept help when it is offered and ask for help when it is needed. They have the self confidence and self awareness to recognise the value of others, without feeling threatened and recognise they don’t have all the answers.
FOCUS ON GETTING THE JOB DONE
“Leaders are innovative, entrepreneurial and future orientated. They focus on getting the job done”. Brian Tracy
Every leader needs to cultivate a triad of awareness: an inward focus, a focus on others, and an outward focus. Focusing inward and focusing on others helps leaders cultivate emotional intelligence. Focusing outward can improve their ability to devise strategy, innovate, and manage organisations.
Focused leaders are in tune with how they feel, have great self awareness and understand how other people see them. Focused leaders can alo manage their impulses and can tune out distractions.
COOPERATION LEADS TO LEADERSHIP
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping it together is progress; working together is success.” Henry Ford
Leadership is the ability to get people to work for you because they want to. A big part of successful leadership includes cooperating and sharing as well as helping people feel a sense of belonging.
Finding common ground, providing recognition, being open with information and being authentic all contribute to the conditions in which individuals are more satisfied. Your ability to get everyone working and pulling together is essential to your success.
OUTSTANDING STRATEGIC PLANNING
Strategy is the starting point to any plan and great leaders have an outstanding ability to look ahead, anticipate change and forecast ahead. This is due to their ability to look forward, keeping their finger on the pulse and strategic planning.
“Let us all be the leaders we wish we had.” – Simon Sinek
Everyone can be a leader, yet only a select few can become great leaders. Leaders never stop growing and developing. Regardless of whether you have worked your way up the corporate ladder or just started your own business, the route to leadership is never an easy one.
Having the capacity and drive to keep pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and identifying the qualities that you must learn to succeed will keep you striving to be an effective leader and grow through the journey.