Leaders are created. In the mind, a dangerous place indeed. Good leaders inspire those around him/her and drive those people, willingly, to excel. They are masters of self discipline and they possess the willpower to remain focused on the big picture. If you lack a goal and the means to achieve said goal, you cannot lead others. They understand that in order to gain the respect of others, you give that respect back by striving to always lead by example.
True leaders follow through in everything they do. They are strong in their resolve and typically resist the temptation to give up. A good leader has also mastered the art of silencing inappropriate inner thoughts when dealing with others in order to maintain a positive example and effectively communicate the deeper meaning of their work to ensure everyone is on the same wavelength and knows what’s expected of them.
Proactive leaders involve their teams in the planning process, giving everyone a sense of ownership toward an end result and understand how one doles out praise and criticism can make or break the ability to lead. Good leaders praise publicly and criticize constructively, politely and in private. They take the time to listen, suggest solutions in a positive manner and answer any questions someone may have.
More importantly, great leaders know their people. They understand all the good intentions in the world don’t mean a thing without a true sense of those with whom you work with and lead. They take the time to speak with their teams, getting to know them on a personal level and becoming more than just a “boss”, while maintaining the understanding that they are leaders first, friends second. Holding people accountable, especially those with whom a personal relationship has developed, can be a difficult task. A good leader is fully aware that they may have to hold people with whom they have a personal relationship accountable, bite the bullet and make the hard call.
And then, you start hearing how much of a prick you were for making that hard call. 🙂