- Inner strength
Of all leadership qualities, this is one I try to work on the most in myself. The ability to remain calm and poised even when faced with great challenges. The strength of a leader can help foster a sense of security and safety amongst others.
- Clear vision
An ability to see beyond what others see, to see the broader picture or alternative perspective and a clear direction for what they wish to achieve long-term.
- Dreamer /Possibility thinking
Most of us have dreams when we’re young, but as we grow older, we grow complacent and give up on our dreams without quite realising when it happened. A true leader always has a dream, and the mindset that it’s possible to achieve those dreams.
- Embraces change
Some leaders have achieved a certain level of success but then stop there. But the world is continually changing, if you cannot adapt with the times, it’s easy to be left behind.
- Preparation / Foresight
A good leader has the foresight to predict and prepare for change, challenges or a rainy day. They also have the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel, in order to help guide others through.
- Understands / ‘reads’ people
A fundamental aspect of leadership is understanding people and the ability to ‘read’ people. Sometimes leaders can recognise qualities or potential in others that others can’t even see in themselves.
If you look at all the best leaders around the world – be they Heads of State, or iconic CEOs of a multinational company – they are all great communicators. They are not only excellent at expressing themselves, they are also great listeners. You could argue that they are great ‘salesmen’ being able to communicate effectively their idea, vision, product or service to gain a loyal following.
- Ongoing learning
Great leaders were once great students – and they continue to possess the desire to learn – to read more or learn from an even more successful leader or mentor.
- Hard working and self-disciplined
True leaders possess an extraordinary work ethic and great self-discipline. Their success often comes as a result of high standards they place on themselves and a desire to work harder than others. In their work ethic and in all qualities, a good leader leads by example and always ‘practices what they preach’.
As General Electric CEO Jack Welch once said, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” This attitude is vital.
- Attention to detail
Leaders usually have to be able to look at the big picture, but good leaders also make a point of understanding the detail – as often, the detail will determine the success or failure of a particular pursuit.
Becoming a leader means having to make a number of decisions on a daily basis, many of which will have a big impact on many others. A good leader is able to make difficult decisions quickly to be able to move forward.
One thing I know for sure is that leadership is taken, not given. So, if you feel as though you don’t need to learn leadership skills until leadership is given to you – then you’re unlikely to be given a leadership opportunity.
In the workplace, a position of leadership is usually won – someone will put their hand up to take on more responsibility, to step up and take the initiative. So if you are wanting to accelerate your career growth, it’s essential to demonstrate leadership qualities to earn the respective title or position.
So how can you learn these skills or cultivate these qualities?
Reading is a good place to start; I would highly recommend “The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership” by John C Maxwell.
Secondly, watch other leaders and how they operate; working for a good boss is a great way to learn how to be a good leader. Observe their communication style and how they do things. The power of association is very important.
Finally – you must consciously apply all that you have learned from your reading or from your mentor. Practice everyday in your daily life until it becomes second nature to you.
Consciously cultivating these leadership qualities in your life every day will help you to become a ‘magnet’ – attracting great people, aligned with your vision, values and goals – to help you in your life’s pursuits and, I hope, to become a leader of tomorrow.
Joseph Chou is the CEO & Founder of Ironfish. He is also a passionate educator in personal and career development. He recently launched a new Youtube channel ‘Bicycle to Bentley’ which is dedicated to sharing his insights on career, wealth, leadership and personal development. You can subscribe now via the link below.