When we think of successful leaders, we often think of people like Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi, people who have made a difference in the lives of millions.
Whether it’s a leadership of millions, thousands, hundreds, or just a few dozen, there are certain attributes of a leader that shine through. Though some may assume that great leaders are born and not made, we know that’s not true. With the right motives, training, hard work and persistence you too can be a great leader. It doesn’t matter if your desire is to be the leader of a large company, a new church or your own little family the attributes are the same.
First and foremost is your desire to lead. Leadership takes a great deal of work, so what motivates you? The prime motivator is usually passion. Passion to be the best company, the fastest growing company; the church helping more people than any other, a force in the community, or the happiest, most grounded family unit. Passion to be the biggest, the best is a powerful motivator. Ask yourself what you most want to achieve in your life and the life of others. Then guide your group to creating even more motivation. Keep in mind the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “Nothing great is ever achieved without passion.”
It can be a vision of what you want your company to achieve, what difference you want to make in your community or the vision you have for your children and their future. Write down your vision, flesh it out and know precisely what that vision entails. Know how you’ll get from Point A to Point B. You can’t make a plan without a detailed vision of what you hope to achieve.
This is where your plan starts. You have the vision of what you want to achieve, now you set it out step by step. You know where you want to end up, but you need the road map to get there, the plan to get you and your workers, family or parishioners to the ultimate goal. This is where you ask your people the challenging questions and get them running with the ideas you’ve generated and inspire them to be creative as well. John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
Naturally, the more expert you are concerning your company, or community or family, the better. You must hone your information gathering abilities. Knowledge is power. It’s also essential that your people recognize and respect your expertise and trust your abilities to lead them. Let your group see you as the expert, and know they can trust you to guide them to success.
Respect for others is an essential attribute in a great leader. You should compliment others when they show progress. Always praise in public and condemn in private. This shows respect for your workers, family and parishioners as fellow human beings. As the leader of any group, it’s your responsibility to help them sort out their conflicts. Remember, their problems are your problems. Acknowledge their strengths and their weaknesses. On the positive side, you should also help them celebrate their achievements and accomplishments. And you should listen to their ideas and suggestions, and then let them help you implement them. This will fire up their motivation in doing the required tasks.
Remember, “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” Rosalynn Carter.