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20 Timeless Characteristics Of Quality Leaders

20 Timeless Characteristics Of Quality Leaders

Many would argue beneficial results within the world hinged on quality leadership. Yet leadership remains something of an elusive art; often we only see what worked in hindsight. Dozens of the world’s best leaders have had multiple traits in common, a few of which are detailed below. Regardless of the reason you’re interested in becoming a better leader, the following characteristics will timelessly serve you and your team towards success.

leaders
    Credit: Pixabay

    1. Great Leaders Understand There’s No Such Thing As Perfect Timing

    Indeed, perfect timing is a myth that remains mired in fairy tales and Hollywood movies. In real life, the only things that happen are those that happen right now. After all, you only have today and there is no telling what tomorrow may bring. Seize today as the gift it is and make the most of the resources you and your team have been blessed with.

    leaders
      Credit: Pixabay

      2. Great Leaders Celebrate The Individual

      The United States and many other developed nations often put heavy emphasis on the individual. There is tangible social pressure that tries to convince everyone of having a flashy car, huge home and perfect-looking partner. Individual success is heralded as the apex of accuracy, all the while frequently overlooking what it actually means to be an individual.

      The best leaders understand each individual brings unique talents and insights to the table, and treats them accordingly. When everyone has distinct treasure to share, no one person is more or less valuable than the other. Each person has a puzzle piece that makes the larger image sharper, and fantastic leaders take the time to cultivate this into reality.

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        3. Great Leaders Have Voluntary Followers

        Leadership is occasionally viewed as a title that’s given, rather than a respect that’s earned. In truth, it’s the latter, not the former. True leaders have voluntary followers. Individuals in the corporate world with “leader” somewhere in their title can indeed be leaders, but it is not a given. The best leaders earn trust and respect with others before they seek to maximize their leadership gifts.

        leaders
          Credit: Pixabay

          4. Great Leaders Genuinely Like People

          Somehow we’ve gotten the idea that leadership doesn’t always involve genuinely liking people. Sadly, too many people have experienced ego-centric leadership – someone who was supposed to be leading and was instead berating. Authentic leaders genuinely like people because they understand value cannot be added to an entity that is not inherently valued.

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            Credit: Pexels

            5. Great Leaders Are Meek

            The best leaders don’t have to shout to get your attention or threaten you with trouble if you aren’t “good enough.” No; the best leaders are meek individuals, who prioritize win-win conversations with each person on their team. Meek people also have no need to don a bravado attitude around the workplace or in life. They use humility and common ground to gain and share influence.

            leaders
              Credit: Pexels

              6. Great Leaders Give More Than They Take

              Life is too short not to go all out. Accordingly, great leaders understand giving their team their best is a surefire way to boost success. Great leaders give more than they take, not because no one is pouring into them, but because they’re that enthusiastic about the team they’re building.

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                7. Great Leaders Know Their Shortcomings

                There’s nothing worse than a know-it-all leader – the type of person who you want to trust and confide in but who only makes you feel dumb and insignificant. The best leaders don’t assume they know it all – in fact, they readily acknowledge their shortcomings. Wonderful leaders value their team enough to ask for help when and where they need it.

                leaders
                  Credit: Pexels

                  8. Great Leaders Surround Themselves With Complementary People And Skills

                  The leaders shaping today and tomorrow understand that projects with enduring impact require a breadth and depth of various talents and visions. Therefore, they aren’t reluctant about seeking out individuals with differing skill sets. A team where everyone has the same weak spots is a recipe for disaster, so great leaders do everything they can to build a mutually supportive and watertight team.

                  leaders
                    Credit: Pixabay

                    9. Great Leaders Understand They Won’t Always Receive Recognition, And Press On Anyways

                    Leadership is often a thankless task, especially when one’s work challenges the status quo or requires immense unorthodox thinking. Depending on one’s industry or craft, the true leader of a project may not always be seen in the forefront. Great leaders recognize they won’t always be in the limelight, and continue pouring out their best effort anyways.

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                      Credit: Pexels

                      10. Great Leaders Rise From The Ashes Of Failure

                      Failure is a painful but necessary step on the road of leadership. The innate response is to cower in fear or lower one’s standards, but incredible leaders understand every failure and mistake teaches them something. They use their newfound experience to make them smarter, stronger and wiser.

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                        11. Great Leaders Remember To Say Thank You

                        Seeing a team successfully complete a project invariably leads to celebration and feelings of accomplishment. What isn’t always handled so well is expressions of appreciation. Top-shelf leaders remember that saying thank you is one of the most necessary small gifts they can give, and deliver this with consistency.

                        leaders
                          Credit: Pexels

                          12. Great Leaders Understand Leaders Come In All Shapes, Sizes And Ages

                          At times, there seems to be a subcultural whisper that leadership only comes in specific types of packages (aesthetically speaking). Fortunately, this is nothing more than a myth! If leadership were only available from certain types of people, our world would be limited to certain types of gifts. Leadership is a virtue that extends beyond academia, corporate meetings and scientific labs. The best leaders know we can learn from everyone, and listen to individuals of different backgrounds accordingly.

                          leaders
                            Credit: Pexels

                            13. Great Leaders Don’t Make Or Accept Excuses

                            Teams and leaders themselves don’t always see how to get to the next step or are afraid to commit. Talented leaders refuse to accept excuses – for themselves or their team. Excuses only deflate the potential of excellence, and leaders see to it that clear communication defeats any need for half-baked effort.

                            leaders
                              Credit: Pexels

                              14. Great Leaders Don’t Overlook The Small Things

                              Skilled leaders know that it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. Similarly, leaders understand that providing details and tightening up loose ends is as important as casting a gripping vision.

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                                15. Great Leaders Don’t Ask For Permission To Do Great Things Or Change The World

                                Leadership occasionally comes down to calculated risk. Accordingly, the most courageous leaders understand they don’t need permission to change the world. Radical action often requires immediacy more than caution.

                                leaders
                                  Credit: Pexels

                                  16. Great Leaders Are Compassionate

                                  The best leaders don’t need to act like they are better than anyone else. Subsequently, the strongest leaders are also the most compassionate, looking for creative ways in which to support the needs and interests of the voiceless.

                                  leaders
                                    Credit: Pexels

                                    17. Great Leaders Forgive People For Their Mistakes – Including Themselves

                                    Even though individuals place immense trust in leaders, everyone is human, and leaders sometimes make mistakes. This includes team members that leaders oversee. Emotionally intelligent leaders forgive themselves and others for honest mishaps.

                                    leaders
                                      Credit: Pixabay

                                      18. Great Leaders Give Other People The Credit

                                      Speaking of looking out for others, reliable leaders are quick to give others the credit, and take a bit more than their share of the responsibility. Life is too short to hoard all the results for yourself, so leaders understand that sharing credit boosts trust, morale, happiness and engagement.

                                      leaders
                                        Credit: Pexels

                                        19. Great Leaders Are Great Stewards

                                        The best leaders use everything they have to the best of their ability. People are a leader’s most valuable asset, and stewardship with humans comes down to consistently adding value. Leaders love their people and remain great stewards through consistently adding value.

                                        leaders
                                          Credit: Pexels

                                          20. Great Leaders Tell The Truth, Are Humble And Listen

                                          Last but never least, incredible leaders always tell the truth, are humble and listen. Telling the truth is rarely comfortable, being humble requires thinking of others often and listening well takes a lifetime to master, but these are three of a leader’s strongest qualities, and only the finest commit to mastering them.

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                                          Brad Johnson

                                          Top 5 Kindle Author | Author of 10 Books

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                                          Last Updated on July 22, 2019

                                          10 Killer Cover Letter Tips to Nail Every Interview Opportunity

                                          10 Killer Cover Letter Tips to Nail Every Interview Opportunity

                                          A cover letter is an introduction to what will be found in the resume. In a cover letter, the applicant is able to use a conversational tone, to explain why the attached resume is worth reviewing, why the applicant is qualified, and to express that it’s the best application the reader will see for the open position.

                                          Employers do read your cover letter, so consider the cover letter an elevator pitch. The cover letter is the overview of your professional experience. The information in the body presents the key qualifications, the things that matter. The cover letter is the “here is what will be found in my presentation”, which is the resume in this case.

                                          Something really important to point out- a cover letter should be written from scratch each time. Great cover letters are the ones that express why the applicant is the best for the specific job being applied to. Using a general cover letter will not lead to great results.

                                          This doesn’t mean that your cover letter should repeat your most valuable qualifications, it just means that you don’t want to recycle a templated, general letter, not specific to the position being applied to.

                                          Here’re 10 cover letter tips to nail every interview.

                                          1. Take a few minutes to learn about the company so that you use an appropriate tone

                                          Like people, every company has its own culture and tone. Doing a bit of research to learn what that is will be extremely beneficial. For instance, a technology start-up has a different culture and tone than a law firm. Using the same tone for both would be a mistake.

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                                          2. Don’t use generic cover letter terms — be specific to each company and position

                                          Hiring managers and recruiters can easily identify generic cover letters. They read cover letters and resumes almost every day. Using words and terms like: “your company” instead of naming the actual company, and “your website” instead of “in your about us section on www.abc123.com”, are mistakes. Be as specific as possible, it’s worth the additional few minutes.

                                          3. Address the reader directly if you can

                                          It is an outdated practice to use “To Whom it May Concern” if you know the person that will be reviewing your documents. You may wonder how you’ll know this information; this is where attention to detail and/or a bit of research comes into play.

                                          For example, if you are applying for a job using LinkedIn, many times, the job poster is listed within the job post. This is the person reading your documents when you “apply now”. Addressing that person directly will be much more effective than using a generic term.

                                          4. Don’t repeat the information found in the resume

                                          A resume is an action-based document. When presenting information in a resume, the tone isn’t conversational but leading with action instead, for example: “Analyze sales levels and trends, and initiate action as necessary to ensure attainment of sales objectives”.

                                          In a cover letter, you have the opportunity to deliver your elevator pitch: “I have positively impacted business development and growth initiatives, having combined two regions into one and achieving 17% in compound growth over the following three-year period”.

                                          Never use your resume qualifications summary as a paragraph in your resume. This would be repeating information. Keep in mind that your cover letter is the introduction to your resume- the elevator pitch- this is your opportunity to show more personality.

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                                          5. Tell the company what you can do for them

                                          As mentioned above, this is your chance to explain to the company why you are the best person for the open position. This is where you tell the company what you can do for them: “If hired as the next (job title) with (company name), I will cultivate important partnerships that will enhance operations while boosting revenue.”

                                          Many times, we want to take the reader through the journey of our life. It is important to remember that the reader needs to know why you are the best person for the job. Lead with that.

                                          6. Showcase the skills and qualifications specific to the position

                                          A lot of people are Jack’s and Jill’s of all trades. This can be a great big picture, but not great to showcase in a cover letter or resume.

                                          Going back to what was mentioned before, cover letters and resumes are scanned through ATS. Being as specific as possible to the position being applied to is important.

                                          If you are applying for a coding position, it may not be important to mention your job in high school as a dog walker. Sticking to the exact job being applied to is the most effective way to write your cover letter.

                                          7. Numbers are important — show proof

                                          It always helps to show proof when stating facts: “I have a reputation for delivering top-level performance and supporting growth so that businesses can thrive; established industry relationships that generated double digit increase in branch revenues”.

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                                          8. Use testimonials and letters of recommendations

                                          A cover letter is a great place to add testimonials and information from your letter of recommendations. Mirroring the example above, here is a good way to use that information:

                                          I have a history of consistently meeting and exceeding metrics: “(Name) rose through the company and became a Subject Matter Expert, steadily providing exceptional quality of work.”- Team Manager.

                                          9. Find the balance between highlighting your achievements and bragging

                                          There is fine line between telling someone about your achievements and bragging. My advice is to always use facts first, and support that with an achievement related to the fact, as shown in the examples above.

                                          You don’t want to have a cover letter with nothing but bullet points of what you have achieved. I can’t stress this enough — cover letters are your elevator pitch, the introduction to your resume.

                                          10. Check your length — you want to provide no more than an introduction

                                          The general rule for most positions is one page in length. Positions such as professors and doctors will require more in length (and they actually use CV’s); however, for most positions, one page is sufficient. Remember, the cover letter is an introduction and elevator pitch. Follow the logic below to get you started:

                                          Start with: “I am ready to deliver impeccable results as (name of company) next (Position Title).

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                                          What you know and like about the company, what initiatives, missions, goals resonate with you: “I read/listened to an interview that your Chief of Staff did on www.abc123.com. His/her statement regarding important up and coming employee engagement initiatives really resonated with me”.

                                          Overview of your qualifications and experience: “I have a strong background in developing, monitoring, and controlling annual processes and operational plans related to community relations and social initiatives”.

                                          Highlight/ Back up your facts with achievements: “I’m a vision-driven leader, with a proven history of innovation and mentorship; I led an initiative that reduced homelessness in four counties and received recognition from the local Homeless Network and the County Commissioner”.

                                          Close with what will you do for the company: “As your next (job title), I am focused on hitting the ground running as a transformational leader who is driven by challenge, undeterred by obstacles, and committed to the growth of (name of company).

                                          Bonus Advice

                                          When applying for a job online or in person, a resume and a cover letter are standard submissions. At least 98% of the time, both your resume and cover letter and scanned via ATS (applicant tracking systems). You can learn more about that process here.

                                          The information provided in a cover letter should be written and organized to be compatible with these scans, so that it can make to a human; from there, you want to make sure that you capture the recruiter and/or hiring managers attention.

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                                          Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

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