Which great leader inspires you? Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.? Steve Jobs? Abraham Lincoln? Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Walt Disney?
Why do these people inspire you and countless others around the world? What characteristics make regular people exceptional leaders capable of leaving a legacy of ideas and principles that can change the world?
As it turns out, it’s not a difficult mystery to solve at all. All great leaders generally possess the same set of traits. The great news is these are all skills that anyone can learn, hone, and utilize. That means just about anyone can become a great leader – maybe not leading a civil rights movement, but you might proudly run a successful business!
Every successful business begins with a single idea. The difference between a good business and a great business is the person running the show. A great business leader will look at the overall picture as well as future possibilities. They are able to then articulate that bigger vision and rally others around it.
Business ventures have their risks. It takes courage to take risks, even calculated ones. There are always many factors that can derail the forward progress of a business. It is essential to learn how to analyze the cost-benefit of any situation and decide based on the most favorable outcome. However, sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling and jump in feet first with your eyes closed. Hope takes a tremendous amount of courage and trust in yourself.
Integrity is doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing. Integrity is a direct reflection of moral character. Great business leaders will be honest and adhere to their moral code. The core of integrity is truthfulness which builds trust. Without trust, your teams and clients aren’t behind you which makes achieving success highly unlikely.
All great leaders recognize themselves as a part of something bigger. Great leaders are those who are strong and decisive, but also humble. Humility doesn’t mean that you’re weak or unsure of yourself. It means that you have the self-confidence and self-awareness to recognize the value of others without feeling threatened. It means that you are willing to admit you could be wrong, that you recognize you may not have all the answers. And it means that you give credit where credit is due.
- Strategic Planning
It’s not surprising that great leaders excel at strategic planning. They continually focus on the important goals and determine the steps needed along the way to reach that goal. Good strategic planning is about making precise decisions that contribute to the success of the vision. It is about ensuring that you don’t get caught up in the little things that come up in your business and keeping the focus on what is needed to move forward.
Along with vision and strategic planning comes focus. Focus directs our energy and drive. It helps to keep us from being distracted by things that drain our physical and mental resources. We can manifest success by saying “No” to things that don’t benefit our business and our vision. Minimizing the negative distractions means we can focus on celebrating the little wins. Those little wins start to turn into big wins.
Most successful people realize they can’t do it all. To achieve our goals, we have to know when to ask for help. Your ability to get everyone working and pulling together is essential to your success. Leadership is the ability to get people to work for you because they want to, not just because you pay them to.
While most of us are not striving to change the world on a global scale, our business success is still important to our personal fulfillment, financial security, and the contribution we want to make to our community. Success requires us to become great leaders. We have to guide our organizations with deliberate decisions. We have to hold ourselves accountable for those decisions. Great leaders know when they may be standing in their own way.
Empowered Leadership helps businesses find freedom through business coaching, executive coaching, assessments, and training. Stacie is an entrepreneur who helps business leaders balance their time to run an effective business and enjoy their life.