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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

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 March 25, 2020

        How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

        How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

        Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

        However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

        Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

        Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

        Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

        In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

        What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

        To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

        The Biology

        Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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        Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

        The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

        A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

        Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

        So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

        Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

        Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

        Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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        Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

        The Psychology

        Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

        Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

        Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

        Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

        What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

        Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

        Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

        1. Identify Your Habits

        As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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        2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

        Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

        It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

        3. Apply Logic

        You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

        Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

        4. Choose an Alternative

        As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

        Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

        5. Remove Triggers

        Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

        Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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        6. Visualize Change

        Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

        For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

        7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

        Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

        Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

        Final Thoughts

        Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

        Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

        More About Changing Habits

        Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

        Reference

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