What skills does a great leader possess? Charisma, while inspiring, tends to fade over time. And strong-willed bosses who try to intimidate may seem formidable at first, but employees often resist tyrants.
To model yourself on the most effective leaders, exhibit these nine traits:
- Articulate a vision—and act on it. Look past the status quo to see a better future and help others picture it. Then plunge into action, knowing that you’ll face obstacles and failures along the way.
- Stay poised amid uncertainty. As pangs of doubt and worry arise, tamp them down. Acknowledge unknowns, but don’t let them immobilize you.
- Commit to self-care. Nourish your body and mind so that you maintain physical and mental health. Welcome respites as opportunities to recharge.
- Empathize with others. See the world through the lens of your employees and peers. Identify their interests and support their aspirations and needs. People are more apt to respect your if they think you care about them.
- Assess competing interests without bias. Blend reasoned analysis with gut instinct to bring warring parties together. Weigh pros and cons dispassionately; don’t rush to take sides.
- Welcome feedback. Greet honest, well-intentioned input with an open mind. Rather than defend yourself, look for ways to profit from the feedback you receive.
- Hold yourself—and others—accountable for goal attainment. After setting goals, measure progress and strive for continual improvement in work habits. Make midstream adjustments to reflect changing circumstances.
- Reinforce your vision. After you share your vision, keep communicating why it matters and what’s at stake. Repeat key elements of the vision periodically and pose questions to gain employee buy-in.
- Sharpen your persuasive power. Exert influence by adopting a range of strategies. Tell simple stories that resonate with others. Appeal to their egos while recognizing their skills and accomplishments. Cite compelling evidence to support your claims.
— Adapted from “The Leadership Checklist,” Brad Lebo, www.vitalgrowthllc.com.
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