Everybody has different definitions for who a leader is but all simply boils down to “the person who holds the dominant or top position in an organization or group. According to John C. Maxwell, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” However, anybody can be a leader, but only a few can be a great leader. This is because being a great leader has less to do with how the leadership role is defined but more on the actual impact the great leader has on others.
Seven traits make a great leader and the good news about these traits is that they can be learned through repetitive practice. So, if you want to become a great leader, simply follow these seven traits to build on your leadership capabilities:
Foremost, great leaders must have a vision. This helps them to see into the future. Great leaders have a clear picture of what they want to achieve and where they are going. They are also very good at strategic planning. Vision differentiates a great leader from a manager but a transactional manager with a vision becomes a transformational leader.
Courage is another trait that makes a great leader. Courage is the willingness of a leader to take risks to pursue a vision or achieve goals without assurance of success. To be a great leader, one must be courageous enough to take risks.
Integrity is complete honesty and perfect truthfulness in everything carried out, both externally and internally. A great leader must have integrity because he or she is required to always tell the truth in all situations, to all people.
A great leader must be humble to coordinate people and to get results. Larry Bossidy stated that humility makes a more effective and greater leader in his book. He explains that if you contain your ego, you become more realistic about problems. You must understand how to listen and realise that you will not know the answers to everything. You must be open to learning from others at all times if you wish to be a good leader. Pride cannot get in the way of gaining new information that can be used to better operations. An excellent leader will be able to admit if they have made a mistake.
For sure, a great leader must be strong and decisive but must also be humble. Humility requires containing one’s ego. Some people have mistaken humility as weakness or being unsure of oneself. But in the real sense, humility is self-confidence and recognizing the worth of other people without feeling threatened.
#5: Strategic Planning
Every great leader must be outstanding at making strategic plans. This is one of the core strengths of a great leader. Great leaders must be able to look ahead (into the future) and anticipate the future with a certain level of accuracy. A great leader must be able to predict trends right before their occurrence based on the current happenings. Various companies have now implemented a leadership development program through which they train their team leaders, executives and seniors, and ensure that they are up to speed with the company’s strategic planning and objectives.
Great leaders must always stay focused on the needs of the group and its current situation. They focus on what is, what must be achieved (whether individually or as a group), and on results. They focus on the strengths in themselves, in other team members, and the entire group.
The last trait that makes a great leader is cooperation. The ability of the leader to get other members of the group or organization working and pulling together is very important to the success of both the leader and the organization.
A great leader should be able to get other people to work for him or her because they want to and not because they are under compulsion.
According to the “80/20” rule, a great leader should be able to easily get and work well with at least 20% of the group to achieve the best results.
Thanks for reading this post on what makes a great leader. Don’t forget to apply these seven traits if you really want to become a great leader – have vision, courage, integrity, humility, stay focused, build strategic plans, and foster cooperation among members of your organization.