At DCR, we believe that a great leader is much more than a personification of a title – great leadership involves fervently creating a vision, passionately articulating the vision, enthusiastically owning the vision and exuberantly driving the vision to create exceptional customer service, intense employee commitment as well as dynamic products and services.
It’s not just something we say at the annual meeting. We push each individual to embrace these qualities on a daily basis.
What, exactly, sets apart the great leaders from the simply mediocre? How do you take off your own blindfold to see the gaps in your leaderships that may need improvement?
We’ve looked at numerous articles and studied the skills, traits and attributes of great leaders to pick apart what makes them best. Following is a list of leadership qualities that good leaders aspire to:
Always learning. Great leaders don’t rest on their laurels. Continuous improvement is the name of the game and they’re always striving for it for themselves and their team.
Visionary thinkers. Amazing leadership stems from not only being a visionary but in bringing that vision to life. That means getting your team on board, motivated and psyched to be part of it. If you don’t believe in the vision, your team sure isn’t going to.
Stress less. Of course the best leaders feel stress like the rest of us, but they know how to handle it and react appropriately. Meaning they don’t fall apart at the seams; they look for the best solution and implement it. Also they know how to manage the day-to-day issues and realize that not everything should be a fire drill handled ASAP. Most of all, highly revered leaders tend to actually get calmer in a stressful situation, take a high level view of the big picture as well as put people and processes into action to resolve the issue at hand. They don’t add fuel to the fire, they diffuse it.
Take responsibility. Here’s a biggie in management and life in general! Bad leaders have a bad habit: They place blame when things go wrong. This thinking says there is a reason for the problem and it definitely isn’t them. That results in finger-pointing which pits people against each other. Good leaders accept full responsibility for problems and teach people through the issues to help avoid them happening again. This ensures that the team will grow and learn.
Team accountability. On a similar note is accountability. Great leaders hold themselves accountable and also their team. They have a standard and stick to it. Nothing kills a team quicker than watching an underperformer to continue riding on the coattails of the top performers. Good leaders will either get them help or get rid of them so morale and productivity don’t suffer. After all, you’re only as strong as your weakest link!
People developers. Poor leaders often fail to develop their people, often partially because they see no need to develop themselves either. They think good enough is good enough or they’re insecure and think that others may get so good they will take their job. Fortunately, great leaders have a development plan for themselves and their team to create a successful future. This requires consistent meetings, goal-setting and progress reporting. Additionally, good leaders give honest feedback and encourage team members opportunities for advancement.
Humble attitude. Some of the worst leaders are arrogant and sometimes downright nasty. No one likes an arrogant leader, even if they are right. Humble leaders know they are human, don’t know everything and admit to making mistakes. This humility allows great leaders to be flexible, learn, change direction and, more importantly, motivating to their team.
Tough talk. Bad leaders are tough on others; great leaders are tough on themselves. They know that, ultimately, they are responsible for their own actions as well as those of their team. Yet, they also know when someone on the team needs one of “those” talks.
Believe, baby. Yes, great leaders believe! They believe in themselves and they believe in their team, but not to the point where they put themselves or their team on a pedestal.
Great leadership is tough work. Like the old saying goes: If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
What are some other qualities you think make a great leader?
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