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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 July 8, 2020

        How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

        How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

        What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

        When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

        In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

        While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

        As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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          Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

          Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

          The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

          But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

          However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

          This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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          Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

          We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

          Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

          Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

          The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

          When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

          When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

          How to Make Decision Effectively

          Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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          1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

          You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

          Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

          Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

          2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

          You don’t have to choose all the time.

          Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

          Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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          3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

          You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

          The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

          Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

          Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

          So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

          More Tips About Decision Making

          Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

          Reference

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