The Leader’s Edge – 5 Qualities that Define Success
All of us are required to be leaders in many areas of our lives, whether that’s in our families, our careers or our businesses. But how can we excel at leadership? A leader is someone who creates an environment in which one or more individuals are moved in a coordinated manner toward the accomplishment of a goal. You can’t lead effectively by trying to please everybody, railroading people into obeying your every word or even abdicating responsibility to others. All exceptional leaders have five qualities in common:
Establishes and Maintains Priorities
To be a great leader, you must know your purpose, establish your goals and commit yourself to service. Being connected to your purpose means your team will buy in to your mission. People don’t just work for economic reward – they also want to have a sense that their work has value and a bigger purpose. By establishing your goals in line with your core values and committing to service in every area of your life and your business, you will ensure mutual respect and communication with your team.
George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” To be a great leader, you have to be a good communicator. Cast a vision for your team. Don’t leave them in the dark. Tell them where you’re going, what you’re doing and why. Context is key. You must also deliver encouragement and accountability, in that order. Make sure to give at least four encouragements for every one accountability.
A great leader acts like an orchestra leader, coordinating a team to work together as a harmonious unit. A key part of this is to invite input. Let your team know that your door is always open and that you welcome feedback. By ensuring that all team members are collaborating and by effectively overseeing the execution of the plan, you will meet your common goals.
Albert Schweitzer once said, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” To lead from the front, you have to demonstrate that you’re willing to do the dirty work. You also have to act as a protector for your team and make sure that they are being treated right. Finally, you must demonstrate the power of delayed gratification. Not everything will be achieved immediately, but wins happen with a concentrated effort.
Nothing gets a team more inspired and motivated than a win. Always acknowledge and reward your team when they do well or resentment will build. Then, establish the next challenge. People aren’t afraid to be challenged, but you must let them know there’s a plan for the next goal. As John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more you are a leader.”