I don’t have a doctorate or years of experience leading a big corporation or a list of amazing achievements that would qualify me to write this post, but I am going to share my thoughts anyway.
Anyone who supervises/manages/directs/leads/guides another person or a group of people, is a leader. You may or may not have a title or position that reflects this, but that’s not as important as what you do as a leader and how you do it.
I share this from personal experiences as well as observations I have made over the years.
So, what makes a great leader? A great leader:
[box]is a great follower as well.[/box]
A great leader is one who is willing to follow directions and receive guidance from those who are more experienced and qualified than them.
[box]is strong and confident, yet humble.[/box]
A great leader must be strong and confident enough to lead others, but humble enough to display and act on that strength and confidence with the right balance of humility and grace.
[box]is neither proud nor arrogant.[/box]
A great leader, though they may be proud of all their achievements, is not one to be overcome by pride that leads to an arrogant demeanour Such individuals don’t have delusions of grandeur, nor do they belittle others to feed their ego and make themselves seem better than others.
[box]is well respected and honourable.[/box]
A great leader, through their words, actions and attitude, is one who earns the respect of the team members they lead and customers they serve and proves themselves worthy of being honoured.
A great leader is one who can be trusted by his/her team members and customers alike. Such leaders do not speak careless words, but follow through on their promises.
[box]is honest and does not consider lying or cheating as a means to an end.[/box]
A great leader is honest in all their dealings, be it with team members or customers. Such individuals will neither consider nor justify lies or dishonesty as an acceptable practice to achieve or gain anything.
[box]is one who is always open to learning and growing.[/box]
A great leader doesn’t think that their knowledge and experience is complete, but is one who admits that they don’t know everything and is willing to learn everyday.
[box]is not a dictator.[/box]
A great leader knows his/her strength and understands the power they have/hold, but does not let it get to them and turn them into a dictator who leads with a “you do what I tell you” or “my way or the highway” mentality.
[box]is considerate and always willing to listen to others when making decisions.[/box]
There are goals to be achieved and targets to be met. A great leader formulates and sets the plans in motion, but not without considering input from his/her team and everyone who’s involved and has a part to play in achieving the desired results. Ultimately, a great leader acts based on information and feedback from all stakeholders, not in a selfish manner.
[box]respects and values others and treats everyone equally.[/box]
A great leader treats everyone in the team, irrespective of their position/role and responsibilities, with dignity, respect and equality. Such individuals understand that while some have team members have more responsibilities than others, everyone is important and each person adds value to the team and therefore, does not engage in favouritism of any kind.
[box]is willing to admit mistakes and learn and grow from it.[/box]
A great leader knows that they’re not perfect and fully capable of making mistakes. They are ready to own up to mistakes, admit when they are wrong and willing to take responsibility for their actions, no matter what the circumstances or cost. Such individuals do not feel the need to appear perfect or flawless to their team or customers. This is not possible unless the person in question is one willing to humble themselves.
[box]does not see the need to take credit for everything, but is willing to shine the spotlight on others.[/box]
A great leader is ultimately responsible for everything and everyone. When the team succeeds, it reflects well on the leader. Such leaders don’t need to take personal credit for the success, but is confident enough to highlight the hard work and involvement of others who made that possible without taking centre stage themselves. As a result, these individuals gain even more respect from their team and also encourage and motivate their team to give more and do more.
[box]forgives mistakes and moves on.[/box]
A great leader knows that just as much as he or she is prone to making mistakes, their team members are likely to do the same. When mistakes are made, a great leader does not chastise the team member publicly, but rather uses the opportunity to correct the person in question with much grace and patience and encourage them to keep pressing on. A great leader does not perpetually remind a team member of their mistakes, rather, forgives and forgets and instills faith and confidence in them to keep giving their best.
[box]is always willing to impart their knowledge and wisdom to others.[/box]
A great leader is one who is willing to train up others and is not threatened by those around them. Such individuals are always on the lookout to identify team members who have great potential and are willing to take steps to nurture and train them to reach their full potential.
[box]never forgets their own beginnings.[/box]
Nearly all great leaders have humble beginnings. Rarely do you find a great leader who was born into that position. Such individuals never forget their beginnings because their past helps them to remain humble and focused and not get caught up in their present and thereby lose hold of their future.
[box]considers it a privilege to be a leader.[/box]
Great leaders do not take their position lightly or treat it with contempt, but respects and acknowledges the power and authority they have been charged with and takes great care and pride in administering their responsibilities and obligations.
I believe these are some of the traits that a great leader should possess This is not an exhaustive list by any means. Not only that, great leaders cannot be effective unless those who follow them are willing to cooperate and work with them. So, I acknowledge that merely possessing these qualities does not guarantee that such a leader will be successful.
If you have any thoughts or comments, please feel free to share them with me.
Thanks for reading.