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11 Strengths All Great Leaders Have

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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

        More by this author

        Nick Hargreaves

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

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        Last Updated on October 7, 2021

        Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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        Are You Addicted to Productivity?

        “It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

        Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

        “Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

        Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

        Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

        “The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

        This is my mantra:

        I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

        But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

        Addiction to Productivity is Real

        Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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        “A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

        Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

        “It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

        Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

        “A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

        “There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

        “For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

        There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

        Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

        By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

        Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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        Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

        Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

        Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

        The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

        Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

        • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
        • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
        • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
        • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
        • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
        • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
        • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

        The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

        Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

        Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

        1. Set Limits

        Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

        For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

        2. Create a Not-to-Do List

        Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

        3. Be Vulnerable

        By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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        4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

        Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

        Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

        There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

        5. Don’t Be a Copycat

        Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

        That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

        6. Say Yes to Less

        Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

        That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

        Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

        7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

        “In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

        “That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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        • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
        • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
        • Establish realistic goals.
        • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
        • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
        • Hold yourself accountable.
        • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
        • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

        8. Simplify

        Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

        The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

        9. Learn How to Relax

        “Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

        “But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

        “And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

        But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

        • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
        • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
        • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
        • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
        • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
        • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
        • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
        • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
        • Visit a massage therapist.
        • Just breathe.

        “Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

        It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

        Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

        Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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        Reference

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