A great leader is someone who knows how to inspire others to achieve their goal(s). Although it sounds like an easy thing to do, it isn’t. Well, it’s not that simple. To be a great leader, you need to know the important qualities of a great leader.
In leading people, you have to understand that everyone has different perspectives and experiences of life. We all have different temperaments. We all feel different things at different times. Now, imagine dealing with a bunch of people who think differently, see the world differently, and are going through different things or situations in life. How do you help every one of them achieve a common goal? Now, that’s what it means to be a leader.
So, let’s break it down a little. A great leader has the job description of inspiring people in a way that makes them pursue and achieve a common goal, no matter what it takes. So, not only is a great leader responsible for achieving a goal, but also in charge of taking care of the team members. Now, that sounds like a lot of work.
To be a great leader, however, certain characteristics or qualities are required. I’m guessing this is where you want to ask; what are the qualities of a great leader? Or what are the attributes of a good leader?
Here are 7 essential qualities of a great leader:
1. A good leader must have a vision
Vision is the first attribute or quality that every great leader has.
A great leader has to be able to see the big picture of where your team or organization is going. Think about it this way, say you want to take your friends and loved ones out for a get-together picnic or any other outdoor recreational activity. However, you do not know or have any destination in mind. How easy do you think it will be to convince them to set out with you when you clearly have no idea where you are taking them to? Of course, it won’t be easy. That’s exactly what it means to be a leader without a vision.
People will only agree to be under your leadership when they know that you’ve got a picture of the end in mind. No one wants to be led aimlessly. So, to be a great leader, you’ve got to be a person of vision and purpose.
Next to being a person of vision is being an excellent communicator. Every great leader should know how best to communicate with their team. This is one of the most important qualities of a great leader. Without clear communication, your team will have difficulty understanding the purpose, goals and mission of the organization or project, whichever the case may be.
Not only should a great leader know how best to communicate but also do it consistently. It’s important to constantly remind everyone on the team what goals they are working towards, and why it is important to achieve them. When people understand the reason why they are expected to do the things appointed to them, it becomes easy to carry out their various responsibilities.
As a great leader, it is important to understand that listening is a vital part of communication. So beyond speaking and relaying information to your team members is listening to them as well. You need their feedback if you intend to do a good job leading them.
3. Emotional intelligence
Remember what we said earlier about dealing with different people with different temperaments, perspectives and experiences of life? Well, that’s why you need to be emotionally intelligent to be a great leader.
Leaders are influential people. However, to take advantage of the influence that you have as a great leader, you need to be emotionally smart so that you can connect with people better irrespective of your differences.
A highly emotional intelligent leader can manage people’s emotions better, communicate seamlessly and resolve conflicts better.
Also, being emotionally intelligent as a leader will help you control your emotions so that you won’t influence people negatively or make bad decisions.
4. Strategic planning
Alongside having a vision is creating a great plan to help you achieve your goal. Every great leader is both a critical thinker and a strategic planner.
It’s like this; you have a vision of where you are leading your organization or teammates to, how about the plan to get there? So, it’s important to map out a route and direction to get to where you are going. Otherwise, you all are likely to get stranded at some point.
As a leader, you can’t do everything all by yourself. You need the help of others. So, as a great leader, you need to learn to delegate and empower others to get the job done. So, instead of micromanaging people, provide all the necessary information and resources that they need to get a task done. That way, you’ll be building trust between you two, and also improving their capacity to perform excellently.
Every building process takes time. Whether you are building an organization, a career, working on a project, etc. It takes time and hard work. In the beginning, everyone is always excited to be a part of a building project because they can’t wait to see how it ends. However, when the process gets rough and challenging, not everyone will be willing to go through with it.
As a great leader, the only one to convince every other person to stick with the challenges that they are facing in the process of achieving their goals is to be consistent and committed. When you are consistent, it becomes clear to the rest of the world that you believe in what you are doing. As a result, people will not only respect you but join you in the building process. So, you can’t afford to give up. Instead, keep going.
Every great leader has to be optimistic.
You see, you want to keep your team motivated at all times so that they can keep working towards achieving the goal. So, even if that means buying some snacks and drinks, helping out with some personal matters, etc, it’d be best to do it. When your team members are happy and motivated, it becomes easy to get the work done.
Yes, every great leader needs these qualities and attributes to lead effectively, but you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you don’t have it all. The good news is that you can learn to do these things. Every great leader out there wasn’t born one, they learnt to become one. So, you’ve got this also. You can cultivate the essential qualities of a great leader if you aspire to be a leader.