What makes for a great leader? Are leaders born, or can they be molded? Whether or not someone has the capacity to be a great leader, they still need to be molded and nurtured. Which means, EVERYONE, even if their job doesn't have a leadership component right now, should consider developing their leadership skills.
What are the traits that define leadership anyway?
You asked. So, in a nutshell here they are:
Vision: Leaders have a clear vision of where they want to go, specifically related to an organization, how they will grow it into a well known business with a recognizable brand that differentiates it from its competition. However, vision alone is not enough. Leaders not only have this vision but are able to develop and implement a plan for success. Passion and drive complete the picture; leaders are also able to share their vision and generate support from others to fulfill the goal.
Focus and Discipline: Strong leaders are disciplined. They set priorities and single-mindedly create a set of actions that they fulfill. This focus enables them to drive action and achieve results. You can spot a good leader because they are so focused on the goal while inspiring and encouraging others to participate.
Trust and Values: At the core of every true leader is a trust and value system that hinges on integrity. Leaders display a genuine character and never sway from a truthful path. Leaders do not take short cuts that have the potential to harm the business. They would rather take a bit longer and ensure that integrity is maintained rather than pursue a less righteous path. They are honest, forthright, and controlled to ensure that others feel comfortable in approaching them with information and ideas. This ability to build trust generates followers that are highly loyal.
Shared Success and Shared Failure: Great leaders share success with others, and also failures as well. They have the ability to credit others with success and also take responsibility for failures. The ability to take the good with the bad and share it all is the hallmark of a leader.
Humility: We are all human. Leaders recognize and embrace this. They do not put themselves on any pedestals but treat others the way they expect to be treated and work to support the overall efforts of a group. They are receptive to new ideas and realize that they are not the only ones that can foster change. A good leader listens and can accept that a different way of doing things might be better than maintaining an existing situation. They do not judge but are open, establishing trust and mutual respect.
Humor: Above all leaders can use humor to create camaraderie and generate support. There is nothing like a good dose of laughter to diffuse a tough situation.
There is no doubt that some people are born leaders. However, those traits need to be nurtured to realize their full potential. So there is more than a dash of molding that needs to be thrown into the pot and stirred to 'produce' someone who can truly inspire, motivate and lead others to achieve greatness. If you aspire to be one of these people, then it's time to start developing your leaderships skills.