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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.

                    leaders
                      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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                              leaders
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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 April 8, 2020

                                          9 Tips for Starting a New Job and Succeeding in Your Career

                                          9 Tips for Starting a New Job and Succeeding in Your Career

                                          Congratulations, you’re starting a new job! You’re feeling relieved that the interviews and the wait for a decision from the hiring manager is over, and you’ve finally signed the offer.

                                          Feelings of fear and anticipation may surface now as you think about starting work on Monday. Or you may feel really confident if you have plenty of work experience.

                                          Remember to not assume that your new work environment will be similar to previous ones. It’s very common for seasoned professionals to overestimate themselves due to the breadth of their experience.

                                          Companies offer different depths of on-boarding experiences.[1] Ultimately, success in your career depends on you.

                                          Below are 9 tips for starting a new job and succeeding in your career.

                                          1. Your Work Starts Before Your First Day

                                          When you prepared for your interview, you likely did some research about the company. Now it’s time to go more in depth.

                                          • How would your manager like you to prepare for your first day? What are his/her expectations?
                                          • What other information can your manager provide so that you can start learning more about the role or company?
                                          • What company policies or reports can you review that can get you acclimatized to your new job and work environment?

                                          You’ll need to embrace a lot of new people and information when you start your new job. What you learn before your first day at work can help you feel more grounded and prepare your mind to process new information.

                                          2. Know Your Role and the Organization

                                          Review the job posting and know your responsibilities. Sometimes, job postings are simplified versions of the job description. Ask your manager or human resources if there is a detailed job description of your role.

                                          Once you understand your key responsibilities and accountabilities, ask yourself:

                                          • What questions do you have about the role?
                                          • What information do you need to do your job effectively?
                                          • Who do you need to meet and start building relationships with?

                                          Continue to increase your knowledge and do your research through the company Intranet site, organizational charts, the media, LinkedIn profiles, the industry and who your company competitors are.

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                                          This is not a one time event. Continue to do this throughout your time with the company. Every team or project you engage with will evolve and change.

                                          Keep current and be ready to adapt by using your observational skills to be aware of changes to your work environment and people’s behaviour.

                                          3. Learn the Unwritten Rules at Work

                                          Understanding your work culture is key to help you succeed in your career.

                                          Many of these unwritten rules will not be listed on company policies. This means you’ll need to use all of your senses to observe the environment and the people within it.

                                          What should you wear? See what your peers and leaders are wearing. Notice everything from their jewelry down to their shoes. Once you have a good idea of the dress code you can then infuse your own style.

                                          What are your hours of work? What do you notice about start, break and end times? Are your observations different from what you learned at the interview? What questions do you have based on your observations? Asking for clarity will help you make informed decisions and thrive in a new work setting.

                                          What are the main communication channels?[2] What communication mediums do people use (phone, email, in-person, video)? Does the medium change in different work situations? What is your manager’s communication style and preference? These observations will help you better navigate your work environment and thrive in the workplace.

                                          4. Be Mindful of Your Assumptions

                                          You got the job, you’re feeling confident and are eager to show how you can contribute. Check the type of language you are using when you’re approaching your work and sharing your experiences.

                                          I’ve heard many new employees say:

                                          • “I used to do this at ‘X’ company …”
                                          • “When I worked at “X” company we implemented this really effective process …”
                                          • “We did this at my other company … how come you guys are not …”
                                          • “Why are you doing that … we used to do this …”

                                          People usually don’t want to hear about your past company. The experiences that you had in the past are different in this new environment.

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                                          Remember to:

                                          • Notice your assumptions
                                          • Focus on your own work
                                          • Ask questions, and
                                          • Learn more about the situation before offering suggestions.

                                          You can then better position yourself as a trusted resource that makes informed decisions tailored to business needs.

                                          5. Ask Questions and Seek Clarification

                                          Contrary to common belief, asking questions when you’re starting a new job is not a vulnerability.

                                          Asking relevant questions related to your job and the company:

                                          • Helps you clarify expectations
                                          • Shows that you’ve done your research
                                          • Demonstrates your initiative to learn

                                          Seeking to clarify and understand your environment and the people within it will help you become more effective at your job.

                                          6. Set Clear Expectations to Develop Your Personal Brand

                                          Starting a new job is the perfect time to set clear expectations with your manager and colleagues. Your actions and behaviors at work tells others about your work style and how you like to operate. So it’s essential to get clear on what feels natural to you at work and ensure that your own values are aligned with your work actions.

                                          Here are a few questions to reflect on so that you can clearly articulate your intentions and follow through with consistent actions:

                                          Where do you need to set expectations? Reflect on lessons learned from your previous work experiences. What types of expectations do you need to set so that you can succeed?

                                          Why are you setting these expectations? You’ll likely need to provide context and justify why you’re setting these boundaries. Are your expectations reasonable? What are the impacts on the business?

                                          What are your values? If you value work life balance, but you’re answering emails on weekends and during your vacation time, people will continue to expect this from you. What boundaries do you need to set for yourself at work?

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                                          What do you want to be known for? This question requires some deep reflection. Do you want to be known as a leader who develops and empowers others? Maybe you want to be known for someone who creates an environment of respect where everyone can openly share ideas. Or maybe you want to be someone who challenges people to get outside their comfort zones?

                                          7. Manage Up, Down, and Across

                                          Understanding the work styles of those around you is key to a successful career. Particularly how you communicate and interact with your immediate manager.

                                          Here are a few key questions to consider:

                                          • How can you make your manager’s job easier?
                                          • What can you do to anticipate her/his needs?
                                          • How can you keep them informed (and prepared) so they don’t get caught off-guard?
                                          • What are your strengths? How can you communicate these to him/her so that they fully understand your capabilities?

                                          These questions can also apply if you manage a team or if you deal with multiple stakeholders.

                                          8. Build Relationships Throughout the Company

                                          It’s important to keep learning from diverse groups and individuals within the company. You’ll get different perspectives about the organization and others may be able to help you succeed in your role.

                                          What types of relationships do you need to build? Why are you building this relationship?

                                          Here are some examples of workplace relationships:

                                          • Immediate Manager. He/she controls your work assignments. The work can shape the success of your career.
                                          • Mentors. These are people who are knowledgeable about their field and the company. They are willing to share their experiences with you to help you navigate the workplace and even your career.
                                          • Direct Reports. Your staff can influence how successful you are at meeting your goals.
                                          • Mentees. They are another resource to help you keep informed about the organization and your opportunity to develop others.

                                          Other workplace relationships include team members, stakeholders, or strategic partners/sponsors that will advocate for your work.

                                          Learn more in this article: 10 Ways to Build Positive And Effective Work Relationships

                                          9. Keep in Touch With Those in Your Existing Network

                                          “Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” – Michelle Obama

                                          You are part of an ecosystem that has gotten you to where you are today. Every single person and each moment that you have encountered with someone has shaped who you are – both positive and negative.

                                          Here’s How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life.

                                          Make sure you continue to nurture the relationships that you value and show gratitude to those who have helped you achieve your goals.

                                          Summing It Up

                                          There are many aspects of your career that you are in control of. Observe, listen, and make informed decisions. Career success depends on your actions.

                                          Remember to not assume that your new work environment will be similar to previous ones.

                                          Here are the 9 tips for starting a new job and succeeding in your career:

                                          1. Your Work Starts Before Your 1st Day
                                          2. Know Your Role and the Organization
                                          3. Learn the Unwritten Rules at Work
                                          4. Be Mindful of Your Assumptions
                                          5. Ask Questions and Seek Clarification
                                          6. Set Clear Expectations to Develop Your Personal Brand
                                          7. Manage Up, Down, and Across
                                          8. Build Relationships Throughout the Company
                                          9. Keep in Touch With Those in Your Existing Network

                                          Celebrate, enjoy your new role, and take good care of yourself!

                                          More Tips About Succeeding in Career

                                          Featured photo credit: Frank Romero via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

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