What comes to mind when you think of a great leader? There are certain traits a person has that separates them from the rest of the crowd. If you stop and think about it, it all starts with their philosophy. The way they view life and how they want to influence and empower the lives of others makes all the difference in the world.

1. Help others grow!

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”

-Jack Welch

This quote from Jack Welch is a great philosophy to have if you want to be a great leader. Before you can ever become a leader, you’ve got to invest in your own personal development and self growth. Once you become a leader, it’s not just about developing yourself but also developing others. Great leaders understand that when it comes to success, it’s essential to help others grow and develop. When you are in a position where people look up to you for wisdom, advice and direction, it’s all about helping them. You are their role model and the way you interact with them will be what they remember you by. Great leaders know the value of what they give to others.

2. Road Map

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way” -John Maxwell

Great leaders think differently from others because they have a road map of where they want to go, what they want to accomplish and how they want to empower the lives of others. Ever heard of a road map? Imagine if you had a road map in your own life. Do you know which directions to take and which roads to be cautious about? Great leaders have an understanding of the different “what if” situations and how they will handle them. It’s all about thinking before making any big decisions and looking at all sides of the situation. Once you know which directions to take, you are the one that shines the light on others to follow you.

3. Character and Inspiration

“My own definition of leadership is this: the capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.” -General Montgomery

Great leaders think differently because of their character and the way they inspire others to take action. The way in which you share your passion with the world can truly inspire confidence in the lives of others. A great leader knows how important it is to develop his or her character and inspire confidence in others.

4. Vision

“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” -Reverend Theodore Hesburgh

What kind of visions do you have? Great leaders think differently because of their visions and the actions they plan on taking when turning their visions into a reality. What is the purpose of your vision? Why do you want to live out your vision? Asking yourself these questions will help you get clear with your message. What separates you from others? It’s all about creating that which you desire to exist!

5. Know thy self

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” -Douglas MacArthur

Great leaders think differently because they know who they are and what they stand for. It’s about being okay with not going with the crowd and standing up for what you believe in. It’s about making decisions that are difficult. Not all decisions will be easy, but knowing how to make those tough decisions is one trait that separates a great leader from the rest of the crowd.

6. Solution-oriented

‘Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.” -Brian Tracy

When it comes to great leaders, their philosophy is all about creating solutions. This is one trait that separates a leader from a follower. Leaders focus on how to solve problems where as followers focus on just their problems. Great leaders have a different mindset from others. This is exactly why the majority of us are followers while a small percentage become great leaders. It all starts with your philosophy. Focus creating the solutions and you’ll be on your way to becoming a great leader!

7. Time management

“Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out” -Steven Covey

One way great leaders think differently is the way in which they use their time. They understand in their mind that time is precious and using it wisely is much more beneficial than wasting time. Great leaders value their time and how they want to spend it. When you’re a leader, you’ll have a busy schedule, so being able to use good time management skills will allow you to be much more productive and carry out your vision. Being able to organize your priorities and having the discipline to carry out your priorities is one great trait that leaders have.

On a final note: I want to share with you an inspirational TED talk about how great leaders inspire others!

Why do you want to be a great leader? What is your vision? Let us know in the comments!

If you want to be a productive leader, don't miss this: 9 Habits of Highly Productive Leaders

Featured photo credit: Famous Landmark and Mountain Sculpture - Mount Rushmore, near Keystone, South Dakota. Shot taken July 2009. via Shutterstock

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