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11 Strengths All Great Leaders Have

11 Strengths All Great Leaders Have

Generally speaking, the minimum requirement for being a ‘leader’ is to hold a significant position in a group, organization, or location. However, not all leaders grow to be effective in their roles. Positions and titles may allow anyone to lead, but these can never bestow leadership at all.

Successful leadership is not really about roles and power; it is more about one’s skills and attitudes that naturally draw people to follow them.

Here are the 11 key leadership strengths that great leaders possess:

1. They Exhibit Confidence.

Great leaders exhibit confidence and assertiveness as they step up and take charge. They are positive, bold, firm, and authoritative in their actions and decisions; they accept challenges with courage and determination. As a result, they easily attract people to respect and follow them.

On the other hand, leaders with poor self-confidence often struggle to make tough decisions and lead with authority. They may meet the minimum requirements needed for a position, but a lack of confidence will hinder them from leading successfully.

Take note of these two problems involving confidence:

  • Low confidence may hold back a leader from taking risks, standing up for a reasonable cause, or initiating change. Eventually, this may cause people to lose confidence in them.
  • Overconfidence may lead to arrogance. Overconfident leaders may resist feedback, take unreasonable risks, and fail to honor their commitments. Eventually, this may destroy the people’s trust in the leader.

2. They Are Passionate About Their Work.

Here is an insightful quote about being a leader:

    Great leaders are passionate about what they do, and they always give their all. They always go the extra mile and even get their hands dirty if the situation requires it. Their infectious drive and energy effortlessly inspire the people around them to go all out too.

    Finding your passion does not just happen overnight, and some people have a harder time finding theirs. If you need help finding your passion, this article can help you: How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life.

    Remember:

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    If you, as a leader, lack passion and commitment to your goals, how would you rally your followers?

    3. They Are Resilient.

    One of the most important leadership strengths is resilience. Great leaders are known not by how they perform during good times, but by how they function and execute strategies during tough times. With their positive attitude, they can rally their team and see through the challenges and low points in their organization.

    Some people normally respond to problems and complications by complaining, whining, or losing motivation. On the contrary, great leaders focus their time, effort and attention on finding solutions and working in a calm and collected manner.

    Moreover, when faced with change, great leaders are known to act with resourcefulness and agility; they adapt quickly to what is happening around them with determination and an open mind.

    4. They Make Informed Decisions.

    Every day, leaders face plenty of decisions, and these decisions usually have a crucial impact on the team or organization. This is what distinguishes great leaders from the rest: they make quality and informed choices, even while under pressure and when facing tough situations.

    However, great leaders don’t always make the “right” decision. The most successful leaders make mistakes too, just like any of us. But the crucial point is that they dare to make a choice and when they make wrong ones, they use that experience to learn, stand up, and do better the next time.

    Good decision-making requires having the right attitude and enough experience. This means that you can learn it and get better at it. To improve your decision-making, take a look at these tips: How to Make Good Decisions All The Time.

    5. They Delegate.

    Starting leaders usually have to wear most, if not all, hats, during the early stages of their business or organization. However, as the team grows, many of these new leaders struggle to transition from doing things to leading people. They struggle to let others handle their respective roles.

    On the contrary, great leaders know the importance and advantages of delegation. They know that they cannot do everything on their own, so they focus on their key responsibilities and leave the rest to the team. Great leaders do not micromanage.

    Trust is a factor that plays an important role here. Great leaders delegate tasks to their people and provide them with all the resources and support they need to accomplish the tasks. Then, they give them the chance to take responsibility for those assignments.

    As a result, great leaders also empower their followers to grow and perform better; they allow and empower their people to contribute to the organization in significant ways.

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    6. They Are Compassionate Towards Their People.

    One of the marks of great leadership is compassion. Performance-related matters aside, great leaders also endeavor to establish a connection with their people. They strive to understand the problems and concerns of their followers, and they find suitable solutions to these as much as they could.

    Moreover, these leaders understand their people’s motivations, aspirations, and hopes. This enables them to create a more humane and compassionate environment where every member can flourish and be more productive.

      7. They Are Humble.

      Leadership often comes with the temptation of becoming enamored with the prestige that a title or status brings.

      But two other positive traits that make leaders great are selflessness and humility. Humility is one of the most overlooked leadership strengths. Great leaders do not focus on promoting themselves or their interests, but instead, they put the people and their well-being first.

      Their humility and vulnerability make them much more relatable and effective leaders.

      If you’re still not convinced of the importance of humility, read this: 5 Reasons Why Humility is Important in Leadership.

      8. They Have a Vision and a Purpose.

      I believe in the saying, “You can’t share something you don’t have.” As a leader, you cannot share a vision or a purpose with your followers if you do not have one. This is why one of the key leadership strengths is having a vision and a purpose.

      Before anything else, great leaders see the bigger picture and the purpose of why they do what they do. With this, they are able to share that vision with their followers, along with the right strategy and plan to realize that vision.

      Moreover, great leaders know how to direct their team towards that vision and make them get to work. As mentioned earlier, great leaders exhibit confidence, make informed decisions, and commit to the cause they started.

      Lastly, great leaders spark enthusiasm and commitment in their followers, challenging them to go all out as they chase their vision together.

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      A mark of a great leader is their ability to pursue a great purpose and compel others to join them in their journey.

      9. They Are Skilled Communicators.

      Leaders often have to engage in countless relationships at different levels: in small groups, in communities, in the organization, and sometimes even on a global scale. This makes good communication skills crucial in any leadership role.

      Great leaders are effective and convincing communicators. Along with their confidence and passion for what they do, they can take charge, direct, or spur others on with their communication skills. Further, they think with clarity and effectively express their ideas while also adjusting to their audiences.

      Further, they acknowledge the fact that communication is a two-way process. They are effective speakers, but they are also good listeners.

      As leaders, they know how to value their followers’ ideas and perspectives. They show sincere interest in the lives of other people, making them feel heard and appreciated.

      On the contrary, leaders who do not understand the value of listening unknowingly push people away, causing them to stop sharing and opening up as much as they would want to.

      Lastly, great leaders acknowledge the following:

      • Only through communication will they be able to create alignment within the team and execute strategies effectively.
      • Every word they say and every message they share resounds throughout the organization.
      • Aside from the words they utter, their actions and how they deliver their message also significantly impact their followers.

      Great leaders can express themselves openly and build connections with their followers.

      10. They Are Accountable.

      Great leaders have responsible behavior. They hold themselves accountable for their actions and decisions, and they lead by example. They stay focused on their tasks, and they don’t get distracted or derailed by other priorities.

      Further, they deliver on commitments and show that they can be relied on to achieve results. Otherwise, they are quick to apologize when something goes wrong. Moreover, great leaders strive to achieve excellence.

      Great leaders also take full responsibility for their decisions, whether the outcome is good or bad. They regularly review their decisions, so that they can react on time to any possible poor decision before things get worse.

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      Moreover, they care about resources and feel responsible for peoples’ time and efforts. They do not waste their time in senseless and lengthy meetings. They make themselves responsible for the positive performance of those around them.

      Lastly, great leaders make their followers accountable. They set the pace for performance excellence and show others how to be accountable.

      11. They Solve Problems.

      The last of the leadership strengths that great leaders possess is the ability to solve problems. According to a Harvard Business Review study, problem-solving skills ranked as the third most essential competency for leaders out of 16 others.[1] It is just right after the ability to inspire and motivate, and honesty and integrity.

      Leadership today seems to be more focused on delegation and management, but it is important to remember that effective leadership also involves a significant amount of problem-solving. This is a crucial skill that helps leaders succeed and shepherd their team well.

      For example, starting leaders need to have strong problem-solving skills to eliminate barriers and to break through challenges that can hinder their team or organization’s progress.

      Problems can shake up a leader or a whole team, but great leaders approach problem-solving as an opportunity with a broad perspective and a calm demeanor. They focus on the problem or situation at hand, and they can make people excited about the solutions they are striving for.

      Final Thoughts

      Anyone can be a leader, but not everyone can be a great leader. Having these 11 key leadership strengths means being the best possible leader you can be. Many leaders do not possess all of these traits, but great ones always aim to improve themselves.

      To sum it all up, here is an inspiring quote from renowned entrepreneur and author Jim Rohn:

        If you want to learn more about being a better leader, read the following articles:

        Featured photo credit: Mathias Jensen via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Harvard Business Review: The Skills Leaders Need at Every Level

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        Nick Hargreaves

        Nick is a serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience.

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        Last Updated on April 22, 2021

        How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

        How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

        Habits are what sets an average leader apart from a great leader. We can argue that talent is the biggest factor; we may debate how the amount of charisma sets the two apart. Yet, if you were to show me what you believed to be a great leader, I can show you the habits that made her/him great. Great leaders have great habits and know how to work hard the smart way.

        Developing Great Habits Is Hard Work

        In my early college days, I had spent a lot of time learning how to play the trumpet. Playing the trumpet took time and discipline. I had some natural talent, but not enough to hide my lack of ability. My trumpet teacher was a man of discipline, and there was no doubt he had talent. What stood to me was his work ethic. He had to be one of the hardest working mentors that I had the privilege of working with.

        One afternoon, I was in his office getting ready for my weekly trumpet lesson. As I was preparing, my eyes scanned the room and saw that there were quotes all over his office. My eyes rested on one quote that forever changed my thinking about my playing. It was a quote from my high school basketball coach Tim Notke that would become popular through professional athletes Kevin Durant and Tim Tebow:

        “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

        Hard work trumps talent. The key to success is not found in your talent or ability. Talent and ability are necessary, but they are not the primary factors. They are supporting roles in the story you are writing.

        Ultimately, hard work is the key to your success. A good work ethic creates the momentum that propels you forward towards your goals.

        Motivation Is Not the Answer

        How many times have you seen someone go to a conference, get inspired, and then come home and do nothing?

        If motivation were the answer, the world would have transformed hundreds of times over. Yet, when we look out our doors or turn on the news, we do not see a utopian society.

        We have thousands of people who become inspired but lack the work ethic to apply anything they have learned. Time and time again frustration creeps in. We are so motivated and inspired by what we see but fail to put in place the things that would change our lives.

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        Frustration happens when the gap between what you expect to be true and what is true gets bigger. Motivation tends to create an expectation that is not rooted in reality. We want to take on the world but cannot get off Netflix long enough to do so.

        Motivation is not the answer, but working hard is. Good habits and routines that produce success are the byproducts of a strong work ethic. The habits and routines we create and follow are the foundation on which we build a winning life.

        How to Work Hard by Working Smarter

        Here are 4 routines that will help you learn how to work hard and achieve your short term and long term goals.

        1. Define What a Win Looks Like

        In football, a player that crosses into the end zone gain points. In soccer, a player kicks the ball into the net to score. Hockey, lacrosse, and basketball are all the same. The player takes the object and moves it into the designated area to gain points. The team with the most points wins the game.

        Why is it that we can define what a win looks like in sports, but we fail to do so in our leadership, our businesses, or our homes?

        Learning how to work hard without setting a target is futile. It is insanity to work hard without having a clear direction to place your energy. I would argue that defining a win is one of the most important routines that a leader can have. Defining a win separates superficial activity from meaningful activity.

        When I define a win, I know the goal line I have to cross[1]. Knowing where the goal line is informs me of the activity I have to engage in to cross it. Without a clear direction, I am spinning my wheels hoping that I will get to a destination I haven’t defined. It is like asking a GPS for directions but failing to input the destination.

        4 Steps to Define a Win
        • Know the outcome you desire.
        • Declare the outcome in specific, meaningful terms.
        • Write the outcome down.
        • Set your activity list to only do that which will complete your goals.

        Let me give you an example. 15 years ago, I started speaking professionally. As a young and naïve speaker, I thought winning meant that I had to get a reaction from the audience. If they cheered, smiled, or cried, I considered myself a winner. The problem was my lack of understanding of what a win looked like. As a seasoned speaker, my wins look different.

        As of today, when I speak, I am not looking for any emotional reactions from the audience. I win if, and only if, I clearly communicated my point so that anyone hearing the talk can take it and apply it to their lives that day. That is how I define a win when I speak now.

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        Create a habit of declaring a win. When you do, you will see your productivity soar and your encouragement increase. Pairing a hard work ethic with wise decisions creates victory. Stop being a mouse on a wheel that goes nowhere, and start being the captain of your fleet.

        2. Evaluate Your Activity

        Not all activity is equal. There are things you must do, things you need to do, and things we can either give away or delete. The greatest challenge of a leader is understanding the difference. Understanding what activity is busywork and what activity is mission work is pivotal.

        Not only do we need to learn how to evaluate our activity, but we must make this a core routine in our arsenal of success. Stop working so hard on everything and start learning how to work hard on the right things.

        Not every activity will move the needle forward for you. In fact, you were never meant to do everything yourself! Once we stop trying to be a martyr in our leadership, we can start looking at how to take things off our plates through delegation.

        Based on the Eisenhower box, there are 4 things that we look at when deciding on which activities are important:

        • Do now
        • Plan to do it later
        • Delegate to someone else
        • Delete it

        Powerful questions are the way you discover if the activity is right or not:

        • Does this activity move me towards or away from my goals?
        • Do I have to do this activity or can I give this activity away to someone else?
        • Does this activity have to be now right now or can it be scheduled for later dates?
        • Does this activity have to be done at all?

        Evaluating the type of activity you engage in should be a routine that you do daily. Learning how to work hard should create progress. Having a system of evaluation and a routine to do it will help.

        3. Prioritize Your Calendar

        If you were to show me your calendar, I could show you why you are not further along. When you lack the routine of placing things on your calendar, two things happen.

        First, what does not make it on your calendar does not get done.

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        It is a simple truth that is often overlooked. Your calendar contains the power to change your life. Yet, we don’t use our calendars to their fullest potential.

        “You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell

        Also, if you don’t mark you activities on your calendar, you are leaving it open to other’s priorities.

        “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey

        Having a routine in your life where you place things on your calendar is pivotal to your success. This is not a routine one should overlook.

        It’s time to take your leadership and business to the next level. It’s time to start putting your daily routines on your calendar, along with your priorities.

        4. Reflect on Your Day and Plan the Next

        We are all about the morning routine. Whatever that looks like for you, there should be a routine in the morning that sets you up for success.

        Hard work starts when your feet hit the ground in the morning. Creating the habit of winning starts with the first thing you accomplish that morning. If you win your morning, you will win your day.

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        Best Morning Routine to Prepare to Work Hard

          But how often have you heard people talk about an evening routine? Tomorrow is won the day before it happens. When you fail to plan your day, you may put your effort toward in the wrong things. Route replaces routine. Indecision replaces decisiveness. Losses replace wins. The discouragement will deflate your momentum and increases the chances of procrastination. That is why we set our schedule the night before.

          “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” -Sun Tzu

          Working hard doesn’t have to be hard work. It shouldn’t take much out of you learn how to work hard as long as you work smart. Having a time where you reflect on the day and set your priorities is the difference-maker.

          Use these questions to reflect on your day:

          • What went well?
          • What didn’t go well?
          • What can I change?
          • What do I need to start doing?
          • What do I need to stop doing?

          The Bottom Line

          Navigating through life is hard work. Yet, the work doesn’t have to be hard when you work smarter. When you create routines that support your mission, you create wins. Working hard, the smart way will tip the balance in our favor.

          Boxing legend Joe Frazier said:

          “Champions aren’t made in the ring; they are merely recognized there.”

          Champions put in the hard work behind the scenes. The world recognized them as a champion when they saw the results of the hard work. Right now, you are doing the work of creating a champion in yourself.

          That work is setting your routines in order because you now know that success flows from your daily routines. If you are not experiencing the success you desire, then it is time to change things up.

          More on Creating Healthy Routines

          Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] The Balance Careers: Interview Question: “How Do You Define Success?”

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