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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

        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 January 6, 2021

        14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

        14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

        Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

        In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

        For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

        For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

        Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

        Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

        Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

        How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

        Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

        1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

        Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

        For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

        2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

        Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

        Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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        Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

        3. Create a System

        Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

        This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

        You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

        Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

        Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

        4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

        We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

        If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

        Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

        Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

        5. Use a Ratings Scale

        Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

        Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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        It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

        6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

        This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

        You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

        You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

        7. Offer Feedback Forms

        Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

        First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

        Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

        You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

        8. Track Cost Effectiveness

        This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

        Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

        Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

        9. Use Self-Evaluations

        Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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        Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

        10. Monitor Time Management

        This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

        Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

          The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

          While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

          11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

          We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

          Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

          For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

          Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

          Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

          From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

          12. Utilize Peer Feedback

          This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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          Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

          Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

          It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

          13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

          When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

          Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

          Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

          14. Use an External Evaluator

          Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

          They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

          While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

          Final Thoughts

          These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

          The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

          The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

          More Productivity Tips

          Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

          Reference

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