Leadership Qualities: The 12 Must Haves.
Are you a good business leader or a great? Do you have stunning leadership qualities, or are they just so-so? How can you tell?
Here’s one to judge the caliber of your current business leadership abilities. If you're a great leader, you probably have loyal employees, and a thriving business.
That’s because cultivating good business leadership qualities will make you a better boss, a better employee…and a better person.
There are a lot of books that will give you a lot of different opinions on what it takes to be a great business leader - and I’ve probably read most of them at one time or the other in my career. From my readings, observations and experiences, here are the leadership qualities that seem to be consistently essential.
1. Lead by Example – Don’t expect your employees to be punctual and organized if you come in late and have to wade through piles of paperwork to get to your desk. Likewise, don’t expect them to respect the customer or each other if you are constantly on the attack. As one of my mentors used to say, “A fish rots from the head down.” Model your company’s core values and your employees will follow suit.
2. Have A Clear Sense of Purpose - A good business leader knows where the company is going and has a plan on how to guide it in the right direction.
3. Cultivate Courage – This doesn’t mean be foolhardy, but you have to be willing to take risks…and risk failure. If you want your company to grow and prosper, you must be able to do what needs to be done. And since that isn’t always easy, courage comes in handy.
4. Do the Right Thing – Above all, have integrity. Doesn’t matter what the circumstance. Leaders who consistently do the right thing will move steadily upward and onward.
5. Keep Promises – This goes hand-in-hand with integrity. Think about it…if your employees and customers know they can trust you to keep your promises, doesn’t it stand to reason that your business will blossom?
6. Don't Give Up – Leaders are persistent. If they have a dream or idea, they keep at it until they it's realized.
7. Focus – Concentrate on your company’s goals and objectives with single-minded determination. Not to the exclusion of all else, mind you; but even amid all the minutia of the day, a good leader never loses sight of the finish line.
8. Inspire – The ability to inspire those around you is a critical leadership quality. You must be able to infuse your organization with your dreams and visions. Remember, you are the one who sets the tone.
9. Communicate – Don’t make your employees “guess” at how the company’s doing, or your managers “assume” they are doing as they should. Talk to them. No…really talk to them. Communicate clearly, articulately, and regularly.
10. Praise – Good leaders understand that recognizing employees for a job well done is essential to morale. Give credit where credit is due and you’ll build loyal workers.
11. Be Empathetic – Your people need to see you as “human.” Put yourself in others’ shoes and you will become known as someone who cares, and is therefore worthy of your employees’ best efforts.
12. Balance Work and Life – Repeat after me… “Work is work. It isn’t my whole life. Work is what I do to make money so I can live life the way I want to.” You may not be at the place yet where you can say that with conviction, but trust me…you don’t want to take too long to get there. Yes, work is important. We need to enjoy what we do and get fulfillment out of it. Otherwise, why do it? But when all is said and done, work is what you do to make money. As my husband (the therapist) says, “When you’re on your deathbed, you’re not going to wish you had spent more time in the office.” How true.
Are you ready to step up to the challenge of leadership?
I hope so, because companies today need more people at the helm with solid leadership qualities. Just think of the impact it would have! Not only will it will make the work world a better place, but it will help companies solid foundations for growth and profitability.
One of the best publications I know that reports on great leaders and helps to shape them is The Wall Street Journal. It's an excellent resource. If you want to check it out, click on the link below for some great subscription savings:Get The Wall Street Journal for 75% off!
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