Leadership. Here’s a simple word but countless books have been written all over the world about it. Great authors, thinkers and professionals spent millions of hours in lectures to speak to millions of people about leadership. There is actually in human nature something that make people seek for leadership skills.
Indeed, leaders rule the world… rule our lives. That’s why we are in need of great and good leaders and at the same time we’re looking for a leadership position.
You and i, are working hard to become great leaders and that means developping some keys qualities and skills. Today, i’d like to share with you 7 of the qualities we need to have, to develop, to practice to be called one day « great leaders ».
Definition. From one author to an author, there could be slight differences in defining leadership. However, the majority agree on some key concepts. For Warren Bennis « Leadership is to transform vision to reality » and Kenneth Blanchard quoted « The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority ».
From these statements, we can consider Leadership as « the ability to motivate and to influence people to achieve a predetermined objective or vision ».
What are then the key qualities a leader will need to be a great one ?
1. Vision. A good leader has a vision. The vison is what is called « the Big Picture ». I mean something great and challenging enough to motivate himself and the others. A vision that worths the sacrifices you and your team are making all along the way. The vision is the dream that keep the leaders awake at night. Every great leader has a strong and powerful vision and his main task is to share it, to inspire people about it and of course to achieve it with their support. Henry Ford, great entrepreneur and leader, vision was to provide every american family with a car. We all know Martin Luther King famous speech « I have a dream ». As a leader, you have to get your people to trust you and be sold on your vision
2. Setting goals. Vision is not enough for effective leadership. Once your vision is clear and challenging, you must set goals. Goals are the lights on the way to your vision. Setting goals is an important skill. It proves to your team that you’re not just a dreamer but also an achiever. Goals must be, of course, clear, specific, attainable and you should involve your team in the goals setting process to create more motivation from them.
3. Delegate. To be efficient in his day to day activities, a leader must be an expert in delegating task to the members of his team. It’s obvious that as a leader, you can’t do everything yourself for many reasons. So, delegating is a key to succeed. Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus interviewed ninety leaders from a variety of professional fields in an attempt to find common threads in leadership behavior. One of the common traits that most leaders share is the following:Leaders trust people. They put themselves at risk by giving other people the power to act.
4. Express appreciation. According to Jack Canfield, in The Success Principles, “A state of appreciation is one of the highest vibrational emotional states possible.”Each of us has, some time or other, experienced the effects of appreciation in our life. Actually, in any human being, there is a strong need for appreciation and great leaders know it can turn a simple worker into super worker. Remember how you felt that day when your manager told you “ I appreciate your job. You did very well on this project”. Appreciation enhances self-esteem for both giver and receiver and creates a human connection. But still, it is sometimes awkward for leaders to do so. Enjoy trying it and see the changes in your team attitude. Giving appreciation is necessary anytime, all the time. It’s best sooner than later.
5. Self improvement. Good leaders have an enquiring mind and a hunger to improve. They take advantage of any situation to grow, to learn more. Malcom X stated : « Education is our key for the future ». All along the way to achieve his vision, a leader will need new skills, new abilities and new habits… so train yourself as often as possible through workshops, seminars, lecture and also by training others, i twill help you keep your knowledge uptaded.
6. Build strong relationship. A good leader focuses on people. Showing them how they are important to realising the organisation vision. Enabling people to achieve goals by providing support, training and freedom ; establishing trust and recognising achievements are the best ways to build strong relationship with your team.
7. Positive attitude. Your attitude determine your altitude every leader knows that. That’s why, you must show positiveness in any situation. Never forget you’re leading the way so people will always look for the light of hope in your eyes when things will go wrong. Be enthusiastic, it’s contagious. Your stamina, your ability to persevere during though times will be highly appreciated by your team and you will be admired and respected above all if you achieve great outcomes despite that.
Of course, you will need more than those 7 qualities to be a great leaders. I just decided to focus on the ones i find important. This list will probably change if you decide to make yours.
The only truth is that being a good leader is a full time job for only men and women who really want to achieve greatness in their life, for them and the others. I will end up by sharing with you this wonderful quote from John Quincy Adams.
« If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader »
Coach/ Inspirational Speaker