On the Job

7 essential qualities of great leaders

Want to be a great leader? Don’t worry—we all do. It’s easy to be a good leader, but much harder to be a truly great one. If you’re trying to join the ranks of today’s very best leaders, consider exploring the following 7 essential qualities of truly great leaders.

1. Confidence

The best leaders are the ones that exude confidence—even when others are nervous or anxious about what the future may bring. Showing that you’re sure of your group’s success is sometimes enough to instill confidence in everyone else, especially when the going gets tough.

2. Decisiveness

Regardless of what industry you work in, it’s the job of every leader to make difficult decisions. The very best leaders know that, no matter how difficult the situation, they should present their decisions in a final and authoritative manner. That doesn’t mean you should not seek the input of their employees, customers, and others—you should. But, once you have the information you need to make a decision, then make it. Appearing indecisive can encourage employees to lose faith in their leaders, so present a strong, firm front.

3. Honesty

Being honest is one of the most important qualities of every great leader. If your team doesn’t feel like you’re being as honest as you possibly can with them, then—chances are—they won’t respect the decisions you’re making every step of the way.

4. Focus

Having the laser-sharp focus to stay on track is an admirable quality. If you want to inspire those on your team to refrain from falling victim to mundane distractions, the best thing you can do is portray that kind of focus yourself. It’ll make for great work, and even better leadership.

5. Accountability

Today’s most respected leaders are the ones that hold themselves to the same standard as they do the rest of their employees. They set the example for others to follow, and it’s an exceptional one. Set the bar high—for yourself and for your employees—and your organization will reap the benefits.

6. Optimism

While it’s easy to be negative, great leaders remain positive in all situations. Even if they’re lost themselves, they don’t stop looking for solutions. They do everything they can to stay inspired and positive while encouraging others to do the same. When you exude optimism on the job, your employees will have good reason to be optimistic themselves.

7. Empathy

Great leaders are emotionally intelligent—they’re able to understand the emotions, circumstances, and feelings of the members of their team. Instead of making things personal when things go wrong, great leaders stay focused on giving feedback meant to improve results. Look for constructive solutions to keep the team on track instead of punishing those who make honest mistakes.

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