77 percent of businesses or organizations expressed that their leadership strategy was only somewhat, or not at all, aligned with their business strategy. Some great characteristics of a leader know how to keep the business morale high as well as knowing how to empower and inspire their team to achieve great things.
A quote from the king of leadership himself, John Maxwell, states that “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.”
But what actually creates a great leader? And how do we know if we possess the qualities to become a leader ourselves?
Becoming a leader boils down to a handful of characteristics that can be developed over time. These characteristics can move your team from good to excellent if it feels authentic to you.
Check out 12 characteristics of a leader to help you rule at your own business.
Integrity is the meat and potatoes of any leader. Without it, no one will trust or take you seriously. Characteristics of a leader with good integrity are someone that says what they mean, and means what they say.
Do what’s right, even if you don’t want to. If honesty, moral, and ethical principles mean everything to you, then chances are you are a good leader.
Trust is the absolute, most important quality of being a good leader. When a team trusts you, you get their best efforts. They will believe your intentions are good, therefore work with you to achieve goals.
If you are not trusted, people will become fearful around you, and not want to work with you, thus causing your business to suffer. Trust that is lost, is very difficult to get back.
Loyalty is one of the highest valued characteristics of a leader, it is the glue that holds the team together. Establishing loyalty displays your devotion to the purpose, cause, and shows that you care about each individual.
With loyalty, people feel that you have their back, they feel that they can confide in you and trust that you are integral towards their thoughts and feelings. This can create long lasting business relationships and also help you receive loyalty in return, such as loyalty to your brand.
4. A Good Teacher
A great leader is also a great teacher. They know and understand the importance of directing a group towards greatness benefits the individual and for the greater good of the company.
They understand where individuals in their team have weaknesses, teach them how to become aware of it, then coach them how to make those improvements to better their lives. Knowing that helping their team improves not only their own lives, but the life of the company as well is a sign of true strength as a leader.
5. Self Awareness
Self-awareness is one of the few essential characteristics of a leader. It takes a strong person to be aware that they do not have all the answers, and an even stronger person to know where to find them.
A strong leader has a high level of self-awareness. They recognize how personal development is essential and cater to assist others in achieving a high level of self-awareness.
Self-awareness teaches you where your blind spots are, what your weaknesses are, and how to learn from your mistakes.
Being in leadership means having the responsibility of guiding and influencing others towards a common objective. The ability to be an influencer is what differentiates a regular leader to a great leader.
Being influential gains respect from those around you, especially when you influence with a set of core values that you implement consistently within the company.
Sometimes being a great leader means that you need to make difficult decisions, some may not be a decision you want to make, but you know it will benefit the company. Being aware that your decisions affect not only yourself but others as well.
This is a skill that unfortunately not many people can possess. The ability to take on the risk of decision making and stand by it, and knowing that if things do not work out, they will hold themselves responsible. That takes strength and leadership
Confidence goes a long way in becoming an effective leader it ensures that other people will follow your commands and listen to what you have to say. Confidence is infectious, and if you do not have confidence in what you are doing, don’t believe in your own abilities, then chances are, nobody else will believe in you either.
A leader with great confidence will be assertive in their actions, decisions, and inspire confidence in their subordinates as well. Keep in mind that there is a true difference between true and fake confidence, and most people can smell the difference from miles away.
Remember that if you truly believe in yourself, that others will too.
9. Good Communicator
Being a leader, you need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively. This means both verbal and non-verbal communication. A great leader knows that communication skills improve their way of transmitting their point across as well as receiving information to relay to their team.
Being able to stay calm and focused, being polite, and having clear speech, are characteristics of a leader with great verbal communication. Great communication will help establish where you stand in meetings, how to set expectations and have a strong stance in negotiations.
Verbal communication does not stop at speaking, it is also vital for becoming a great listener. Being able to listen with an open mind, without stereotyping and concentrating on another speaker’s message is not an easy task.
What’s even harder for most people is to be able to listen without planning what to say next. A true leader is consciously listening, and giving fairness and equality to everyone in the room, inviting anyone who wants to share their voice.
Communication goes way beyond speaking and listening. It includes unspoken behaviors and actions such as;
- Tone of voice
- Body Movements
Being able to express yourself non-verbally, understand context, and listen to other people’s non-verbal communication are soft skills that are essential for a person in a leadership role.
10. They know the Difference Between Assertion and Aggression
There is a clear difference between standing your ground and attacking to get your point across. Understanding the difference between aggression and assertion is a vital skill in being a great leader.
Aggression instills fear into the person who is receiving the message and is not a good way to get the point across. Some characteristics of aggressive communication are;
- Appears as attacking
- Aggressive people focus on themselves rather than the whole picture
- A need to “win”
- Fuels fears rather than instilling confidence
Remember not to avoid aggressiveness by becoming passive. Some people try to avoid one so much that they become the other, and no leader does well with a passive behavior.
Assertive people look for a win-win situation, where everyone is happy.
- Have no intention of hurting anyone nor themselves.
- Can clearly express their needs in a respectful manner.
- Not afraid to share their opinion
- Have a high amount of respect for themselves and do not feel the need to prove it
- See everyone as equal, that everyone’s opinion counts
Having an assertive approach to any situation demands respect and equality for both themselves and others.
Empathy is a strength that is commonly perceived as a weakness. It gives you the ability to read your audience and strategize how to communicate to them in a way that they will want to listen.
In order to read people, breed connection, and cultivate relationships, you need to be able to put yourself in that person’s shoes, that is exactly what empathy is.
Some bad leaders will try and establish a dictatorial style of leadership, which actually can bring you further from real partnerships. Understanding the problems of others and feeling their pain as your own is what separates you from the lousy leaders.
12. A Great Delegator
Knowing when to ask for help and who to ask is a key component in becoming a great leader. Effective delegation involves strategy and forethinking. You need to know what tasks need extra attention, but you also need to predict and match that task with the appropriate person who would handle it as their own.
Being able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of co-workers and your team of people is a sign of a great delegator, and therefore, a great leader.
Learn More Characteristics Of a Leader
If you are planning on boosting your business and wanting to ensure you possess the characteristics of a leader, these 12 characteristics will help you become more prepared.
We are always here to help with any business related questions you may have, feel free to contact us and we can help you in any way that we can.
Here’s to your business success!