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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.

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          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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            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.

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                  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.

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                    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.

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                          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.

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                            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.

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                              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.

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                                  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.

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                                    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 January 14, 2019

                                          The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

                                          The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

                                          Regardless of whether you hold an entry-level administration role or regularly travel to the ends of the Earth as a hot-shot senior executive, you can still find yourself harboring an emptiness… a feeling that something is missing. A popular assumption that experiencing job satisfaction and a successful career should be underpinned by a well-rounded suite of tangible benefits, no longer holds true for many of us.

                                          We’d never deny health care benefits, appropriate and fair remuneration, bonuses and travel perks in a job package. However, even if served to us on a silver platter, those features can only satiate us to a certain point.

                                          You might wonder what governs entrepreneurs and start-up business owners to quit their lucrative jobs, essentially look the gift horse in the mouth and kiss such benefits goodbye! There can be an irresistible pull to mastermind a business with products and/or services that serve the greater good of community wider than that constituting their daily existence.

                                          Even with research showing entrepreneurship to pose greater threats to their mental and physical health, this unique breed of individuals choose to go against the grain in chasing their dreams of being their own boss. Why? Why would anyone risk this type of career suicide?

                                          Whether you’re an employee, have recently taken the leap to being a business owner or been in business for a while, the commonality is a congenital condition we all share as human beings; to feel a sense of purpose, value and contribution to our community. Despite it being harder to find this for ourselves in today’s world, these approaches will help you achieve ultimate satisfaction through the twists, turns and joyrides that are essential features of shaping a successful career.

                                          1. Search for Opportunities That Feed Your Passion, Not Temporary Excitement

                                          Even though well-intended, the ‘feel good now’ compass that career coaches and consultants often recommend you use to create career satisfaction can actually do you more harm than good. Excitement is transient. It doesn’t last. Passion is the compass you need.

                                          Passion and excitement are two different things. The resounding career legacy that still draws you to turn up on the job regardless of the sunshine or storm that awaits you…that’s passion. It’s like a mental and/or emotional itch you can’t shrug off. Staying attuned to that calling will breed success for you sooner or later. Patience is key.

                                          You’re also likely to have more than one key passion. Beware of getting caught in the notion you have to find your one true purpose. In fact, run immediately from any coach who tells you there is only one. There isn’t.

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                                          Your passion is a journey that can take multiple forms so forget thinking there is the single dream job out there that will give you satisfaction in every way you can imagine. It simply doesn’t exist.

                                          Consider embracing different roles and projects to help you fuel your passion or fuel your pursuits in finding it. Job satisfaction and your career success will be all the more sweeter from a wider range of enriching experiences.

                                          2. Don’t Position Job and Career Satisfaction Assessments as Pivotal Guides to Your Success

                                          Despite their popular use for vocational guidance, assessment tools such as Gallup’s Clifton Strengths and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator have come under fire[1] as being limited to the amount of true value and direction they can offer partakers.[2] These and many other guidance assessment tools (e.g. VIA Character Strengths , DISC ) are self-report questionnaires that don’t have normative population data against which to compare your results.

                                          Simply remember these tools help you develop a stronger sense of what you identify as strengths and weaknesses within yourself, not in comparison with other people. They will still add insight around what sorts of career opportunities, tasks and projects are going to light your fire, what ones are going to extinguish it and what will prod and keep the coals steadily smoldering.

                                          3. Be Clear on Your Personal Values, Ethics and Principles and Choose Relationships That Support You Honoring Them

                                          Teamwork, collaboration, open communication and trust are commonplace for any flourishing work environment. However, whether or not your personal values can be honored in your work can make or break your job satisfaction.

                                          How committed do you want to be to an organization that expects an average of 10 unpaid overtime hours every week under the guise of ‘reasonable overtime’? Are you willing to accept their construing this expectation as ‘strong commitment’ at the expense of your partner and children waiting at home for you? What are your boundaries concerning when you clock on to their time and when you clock off to yours?

                                          Being very in tune with what your personal values, principles and ethics are will bid you well in the job satisfaction stakes. Spending time to reflect on experiences and working relationships you’ve had – the good, the bad and the ugly – will help you make well-informed searches and grounded decisions that will propel your career success.

                                          Finding and nurturing relationships with associates and colleagues who share similar values doesn’t just make your day-to-day pursuits more enjoyable. You become fortunate to work with like-minded people who will support, understand and appreciate you like a second family.

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                                          Being able to honor your personal values in your work means you will still be able to sleep at night when you have to tread where others fear to, and make extremely difficult decisions others would never ever dream of having to make as you forge success in your career.

                                          4. Be Clear on Your Own Definition of What Having a Successful Career Means for You

                                          It’s tempting to get caught up in the ideals and projections of success expressed by those we love, admire and respect. Underneath, we all want on some level to belong to a successful club of some sort.

                                          With research reporting how much money we feel we need to be truly happy,[3] many of us try to subscribe to the notion that having the car of our dreams or taking a European holiday annually will not bring us happiness. The truth, however, for many of us is these tangible rewards are congratulatory reminders of our persistent efforts to chase our career pursuits.

                                          If those are things you aspire to, don’t let anyone steal your desire and want to feel deserving of these things, that those are some parameters by which you define your career success.

                                          Despite consistently being the top revenue earner for two years running, you may not wish to become the sales manager. You may not wish to step out into running your own business even though you consistently excel as an employee, delighting clients and repeatedly receiving glowing testimonials.

                                          Your definition of career success might be enjoying the predictability of a regular workplace routine. You get to leave – without feeling guilty – at the same time each day, love the people you work with and get to spend a good, uninterrupted amount of work-stress free quality time with your family. That picture is also blissful job satisfaction and complete career success.

                                          5. Identify the Sorts of Challenges and Problems You Want to Learn to Overcome

                                          Standard advice you might receive from a career coach might be to look for opportunities where you get to capitalize on exercising your strengths and career-related activities you enjoy.

                                          However, to become a success at anything involves improvement. To excel at anything often involves stepping outside boundaries and comfort zones where others wouldn’t. This means dedicating focus and attention to things you’re not so good at and things you don’t like.

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                                          Here’s where working with a coach can be particularly helpful. Map out the experiences that were unsavory in your working history. Were there challenges you opted out of, projects you failed at or toxic relationships that blasted your sense of purpose and self-worth into oblivion? It’s within these experiences that you might just find the most valuable lessons and guiding lights for your trajectory to achieve greater job satisfaction.

                                          If your natural leadership style is to be a collaborator, finding opportunities that require you to apply a more dictatorial style might be needed. Discussing a secondment or short-term project where you get to develop and test your skills can be a step further in earning contention to lead a larger project down the track.

                                          With several of the company’s boldest personality types penciled to roll out the operation, you’ll not only develop skills that earn your right to throw your hat in the ring; those key players have an opportunity to see your competence. You can then work on building relationships with those stakeholders before you need to hit the ground running should you win the lead.

                                          Greater job satisfaction comes with planning and choosing the lessons and opportunities you want to learn, not desperately flailing, floundering and hoping for the best.

                                          6. Keep Reviewing Your Goal Posts and Be Amenable to Change

                                          The word ‘career’ is indicative of a longer-term pathway of change, growth and development. The journey is dynamic.

                                          You will accumulate new skills and let those you no longer need, become rusty. Your intrigue will be stimulated by new experiences, knowledge and people you meet. Your thinking will continue to expand, not shrink. As a result, your goalposts are likely to change.

                                          A major part of enjoying a successful career is not just setting goals effectively, but regularly reviewing and readjusting them where necessary. However, moving the posts or the target still needs to take place by applying the same processes by which you originally created them. The strength of your emotional connection to those revised goals needs to be the same, if not stronger.

                                          By asking yourself the following questions, you can assure your developmental and growth trajectory is still on course:

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                                          • Would working toward these goals still allow me to honor my personal values, principles and ethics at the same capacity if not greater?
                                          • Do the activities I need to undertake to meet these goals honor my highest priorities?
                                          • Does this feel right for me and those who are nearest and dearest to me?
                                          • Is this aligned with my passion?
                                          • Is chasing this goal a right step for me to take now or is this a detour or distraction which could delay my greater plan?

                                          Each of your career goals should have different review periods. Whatever you do, stick to the review schedule you set. It will not only keep you focused but help you see your progress (or lack thereof) and allow you to timely re-chart your course before you get too far down the track. You don’t want to waste time haphazardly heading in the wrong direction.

                                          7. Be Prepared to Let Go

                                          It can be unfathomable to us as to why others risk leaping into the unknown when everything truly appears fine and dandy in the career realm. The company provided stability, recognition, financial success, interesting projects and the promise of a promotion…what was wrong? Why now jump sideways to run a café or train in another field altogether?

                                          Nothing may have been wrong at all. It was all going right. It was just the end of a chapter. Perhaps the yearning for the next step is actually taking a different trajectory entirely. You may want to simply experience a different rhythm. Perhaps it’s time to pursue a different passion.

                                          If you have leaped from employee-land to freelancing or have made the reverse-jump (or you know someone who has), you will have quickly grown a different appreciation for pros and cons each work lifestyle brings. Working for yourself can bring the greater realization of your creativity, whether or not it can be monetized to earn you a living.

                                          When your customers are buying you or a product you designed and fashioned, there is a direct level of appreciation and gratitude that can elevate your confidence in the way you have never experienced as an employee, regardless of your rank.

                                          Similarly, there are times where we need to recognize our business ventures were adventures, not long-term life-changing empires. There are times we need to recognize that time is what provides the clearest limitation of how long we persist for in such pursuits.

                                          We have to recognize the absence of enough financial, mental, emotional and physical breadcrumbs that tells us we’re no longer meant to push in that direction. At least, not for the present time.

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          Above all, keep the momentum. As long as you remain committed to pursuing work opportunities that allow you to honor your highest priorities, the truth of who you are and what you stand for, achieving ultimate job satisfaction and a successful career will never be too far away.

                                          More Resources to Help Advance Your Career

                                          Featured photo credit: Csaba Balazs via unsplash.com

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