Every single day across the globe there are countless leaders – CEOs, managers, team leads, instructors – building amazing organizations and inspiring employees to do their absolute best.
If you can learn how to motivate, activate, and inspire people around you, you’ll have the power to change world for the better in your own way – whether it’s on a small or large scale. And you don’t need to be an Elon Musk or Sheryl Sandberg to make a huge impact on the trajectory of your company, team, and community.
Like most things in life, leadership can be learned by observing and mimicking those that have done it before. While the characteristics of an effective leader are wide and varied, there are a few key traits that the greats have in common. Here are five of those traits that you can use to #levelup your own leadership.
Lead from the front
How does a child learn how to walk and talk? By watching and listening to their parents. How does a Little League pitcher learn how to throw a baseball? By watching their favorite player do it. How does a future motivational speaker learn how to engage a crowd? By watching the style and technique of other speakers. Leadership is no different. To move a crowd, you must first move yourself. The great leaders act first, which is why we attach terms like “fearless” to leadership. Leaders move and act when no one else is.
A great leader puts the people above the process, and in turn the process benefits. Today’s workers don’t want to be a cog in a machine. People want to be heard, respected, and empowered. When someone knows they’re being heard, they’re much more likely to work hard, stay engaged, and support their leader. It starts with genuinely caring about those that you’re leading, and putting their best interests first.
All oars in one direction
In the broadest terms possible, people’s jobs and missions should be reverse engineered from the overarching company goals. The most effective leaders have one or two goals for their team that drive the mission of every individual. A boat with oars rowing in all different directions will sit motionless in the water. And companies are no different. To make progress and build momentum, all oars have to be rowing in the same direction, and it starts with aligning the team’s mission and efforts.
Thank you. Those two small worlds can make all the difference in sustaining motivation for those you are leading. Nothing ignites a spark more than a genuine feeling of appreciation and accomplishment for hard work. The monetary and status rewards of a raise or fancy promotion will fizzle with time. But the feeling of contributing to a greater good, and being appreciated and recognized for it, makes the hard work worth it.
You got this
Trust is the foundation of any positive relationship. Great leaders put trust and faith in the team they surround themselves with. If something needs to get done, they trust their team to get it done. And when a tough decision needs to be made, they trust their team to make the right one. This empowers everyone to contribute at a higher level, and allows the leader to focus on steering the ship instead of raising the sails.
Know a great leader that has impacted your life? What characteristics made them great? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!