Do you know someone who naturally takes the lead in situations, someone who people come to for advice or counsel, or someone who people tend to gravitate towards almost magically? Successful leaders exhibit some of the best interpersonal skills, because after all, successful leaders have to interact well with others in order to lead effectively. So which of these qualities should you cultivate to become a better leader yourself?
- They empower and encourage others
Most successful leaders are successful because of the people they have met along the way. In order to lead and have a strong team behind you, you will need to foster and encourage the growth of those under you. Strong leaders encourage the growth of everyone around them, even if it means creating competition for their own position. A strong leader doesn’t need to hog the spotlight for himself, because they feel comfortable encouraging others to shine as well.
- They are effective listeners
Great leaders always know how to listen. They may have a powerful vision of their own, but they always know that the people under them give them their true power. A strong leader must be able to weigh their own beliefs and decisions against the needs and beliefs of the people they are leading, and to find out whats important to your followers, you have to listen. Being a leader isn’t about doing what is good for you, it is about listening to those you represent and making decisions that are good for the majority.
- They consider different viewpoints before make a decision
This point goes along with listening, but a good leader can consider the views of everyone involved before making a major decision. How will this decision affect my followers, how would someone else make this decision, what could happen as a result of this decision? Good leaders must be able to carefully consider major decisions with a level head BEFORE they make these major choices that affect their followers.
- They don’t abuse their power or the trust that others have placed in them
Some people can’t handle power and they respond by telling lies and overusing the power they have been given. Leaders who feel the need to lie in order to gain favor, or leaders that feel the need to rule with an iron fist to instill fear into their followers will always fall eventually. These tactics may pay off early, but they are NEVER sustainable.
- They aren’t afraid to lead by example, even if it isn’t popular.
Sometimes, on rare occasions, leaders must be willing to go against the popular opinion in order to make the RIGHT decision. Even if a leader has to lose power, they are willing to do the right thing despite what the repercussions may be. If all of Nazi Germany was convinced what they were doing was ok, then vast majorities of people can be wrong about something. Just because a lot of people agree about something doesn’t make it right, good leaders can see through the popular opinion and truly see what is best.
- They care about something
Great leaders believe in something beyond them. They can make decisions based off of what they care about, rather than for selfish reasons: it can be country, success of the group, or well being of their followers, but every leader needs a purpose to drive their decisions- otherwise its the blind leading the blind.
- They take the time to create a plan
Good leaders take time to make a plan that is based off of what is important for the group. A good leader is not impulsive or often seeking instant gratification, but instead they strive to make decisions that have been been planned out for the maximum long term benefit.
- They are knowledgeable or find the knowledge they need
Leaders can’t know everything, but good ones know how to get the knowledge they need. If that means calling in an expert, doing research, or asking for help, they know how to get what they need to do the job that they need to do.
- They aren’t afraid to ask for help
The ability to ask for help shows strength as a leader, because when a job needs to be done the right way it is best to have the person who can do it best. Leaders need good people to be successful. A successful leader takes control of the tools at their disposal and delegates how to best do things for the entire group.
- They don’t place himself above others, but rather believe in the team.
A great leader knows that they are nothing without the people below them. They must take into consideration what is best for the majority at all time. Even the best leaders cannot please everyone, but they must do their best to keep the majority pleased. The leader must be willing to put even himself into a difficult situation if its what the group needs.
What traits have you seen in the leaders that you know, who do you look up to or follow? Please share your insights in the comments below and let us know you own personal experiences.