Being a successful leader is a status that many aspire and want to become, but the hard work, sacrifice, and drive it takes to make one a successful leader is often what separates the ones who hope to be one from the ones who are willing to put in the effort to make it become a reality. It’s easy to WANT success, but not so easy to achieve it. The definition of leadership is someone with a strong personality and good people skills that can motivate others to work together to achieve a common goal. Digging deep into what it takes to make a successful leader, we need to identify the traits of an effective leader, the practices of an effective leader and the mistakes and actions you want to avoid that can actually hurt your leadership and influence with others.
The Traits Of A Successful Leader
- A successful leader is a GOOD COMMUNICATOR. Lots of people can make a speech with passion and intelligent words and come across in such a manner as to be convincing, but a successful leader is just as good at communicating roles and responsibilities as they are trying to encourage people to get involved in their vision. One on one communication with people right where they are is just as important (if not more important) as public speaking.
- A successful leader has a PASSION for their craft When you are passionate about what you do it shines through and others are motivated to join you on the journey.
- A successful leader has VISION and the business sense to do the work it takes to make their vision a reality.
- A successful leader has a strong set of VALUES: honesty, integrity, and respect for other people.
- A successful leader has COURAGE. Being a leader is not easy, it comes with hard work, frustration and sacrifice, requiring a lot of courage to undertake the responsibility.
- A successful leader has good PEOPLE SKILLS. Being able to get along with all different types of personalities and forge relationships is an integral part of being effective in leadership.
- A successful leader has and operates with HUMILITY. Successful leaders give credit to those who helped them in their success and aren’t so prideful that they can’t admit when they are wrong.
- A successful leader leads and operates with SINCERITY – Good leaders are true to who they are, honest in what they stand for and genuinely concerned about others and their needs.
- A successful leader exhibits CLARITY: the ability to explain with common sense and good detail their vision, purpose, the execution of their business plan and their expectations of and for their employees.
The Practices Of A Successful Leaders
Effective and successful leaders exhibit the traits we mentioned above and those traits are put into practice by:
- Being organized and planning ahead
- Conflict Resolution – when people are involved there is always going to be conflict, be prepared before it happens with good conflict resolution ideas.
- Clear and concise decision making
- Showing people that you genuinely care about them, in what you say and in what you do
- Encouraging other people in their strengths and helping them learn from their weaknesses
- Admit your mistakes and show how you are learning from them
- Keeping people informed on what’s going on with you and around you
- Always being honest, even when it’s uncomfortable
Actions And Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Leadership
Anyone that has held multiple job titles has a story of a “bad boss” or an ineffective or incompetent leader, meaning they can give examples of supervisors doing one or more of the following BAD CHOICES. Those that aspire to be successful leaders will avoid making the following mistakes:
- Keeping Secrets
- Using your leadership role to air your own personal grievances
- Not following through on your promises to your team
- Being overconfident
- Playing “favorites” with the people on your team. (Don’t give preferential treatment to ANYONE. Treat everyone equally. Always.)
- Making decisions based on what’s easiest for you and makes you look good.
- Failing to show appreciation and give thanks to those who are working hard to make your vision a reality
- Talking down to your team, treating them like children
- Crossing the line between business and personal information
- Making rules for your team and then refuse to follow them yourself
These are just a few “BAD BOSS” failures. I’m sure an entire book full of these bad experiences could be published. Learn from others mistakes, be the kind of leader you would want to serve under.
Learn To Become A Good Leader Before You Get The Title
Being in leadership is a commitment and a privilege. Without leaders we would all be running around like little ants trying to figure out where to go and what to do. Even the ants have a leader! Each colony of ants has a queen and each ant in the colony has a specific job they must do in order for the colony to function properly! If you aren’t in any leadership role right now you are under someone’s leadership. It’s easy to criticize leaders and how WE think they should lead, but if we put ourselves in their shoes we would see the importance and responsibility that leaders are faced with every single day. You don’t have to be the big boss to have a sphere of influence in your circle. Take these tips and insights with you and apply them to your job. Your passion, attention to detail and concern for others just might be the foundation that will catapult you into leadership one day. Hard work and doing right by others can open doors to a bright future.
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