Have you ever wondered why some individuals make great leaders yet, no matter what they do or how hard they try, others fail at leadership? Most likely, it's because great leaders share a common set of attributes that inspire others to follow them. If you want to be a leader in your field but are not sure how to go about it, let's explore what you can do to become an effective leader. Having been a leader and observing leaders over the years, the following is a list of those attributes I feel best exemplify true leaders.
1. Leaders possess charisma. They are positive, friendly, engaged, and fun. There's that "something special" that makes one want to be around them.
2. Leaders exhibit a high degree of integrity. They are honest, ethical, responsible, and follow through on what they commit to. You can always depend on them.
3. Leaders have a high energy level. They are always on the go, whether it involve talking to stakeholders, working on projects, putting out fires, or promoting their organization in the community. They tend to work extra hours to ensure that the organization remains operationally stable and fiscally sound.
4. Leaders have a clear vision of where they want to go, they are passionate about it, and they communicate this vision to ensure their staff members are on the same page. They are excellent strategic planners, and meet goals and objectives in a timely manner, without compromising quality.
5. Leaders are great decision makers. They display objectivity when examining an issue, gather all pertinent facts, carefully weight the pros and cons, and make decisions that best meet the needs of their customers and organization. They take responsibility for and stand by their decisions, knowing that not everyone will agree with them.
6. Leaders are experts in their respective industry. They read industry related publications, and keep on top of research, legislation, regulations, trends, statistics, and other information relevant to their industry. They are able to field industry related questions with ease, confidence, and expertise.
7. Leaders view the organization's customers as their top priority and, as a result, ensure there are exemplary customer service practices in place. They listen to their customers, and develop or modify programs and services to best meet their needs.
8. Leaders hire, develop, and retain quality staff members. Good staff members understand the organization's vision, and are able to successfully implement the organization's mission. Haven't you ever heard the old adage that you (executive directors, administrators, presidents) are only as good as your staff?
9. Leaders know how to let go and delegate responsibilities to their staff. They trust and empower their team, allowing them to grow, shine, and succeed.
10. Leaders are accessible to their staff members and stakeholders, and maintain an open door policy. They allot time to solicit and listen to input and feedback, and are as flexible and generous with their time as possible. They allow individuals to express their needs and concerns in a safe environment.
11. Leaders are organized and possess excellent time management skills. They know where everything is at, resulting in greater efficiency. They manage their time well, assuring that the most important priorities are taken care of first. They use every minute of their day wisely.
12. Leaders are superb multi-taskers. They are able to absorb information quickly and handle multiple projects at the same time. They know the status of their projects at any given time.
If you aspire to be a leader but are not quite there, your style may be lacking one or more of the above attributes. Review your leadership style, with careful attention to each of these attributes. Be honest with yourself. Do you have these attributes or not? If not, consider working on those you don't possess. At the very least, you will become a more effective and respected leader.
Copyright 2009 © Sharon L. Mikrut, All rights reserved.