While there are many different perspectives on what makes a great leader, there are some qualities that seem common. As John Maxwell said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
If you are a leader but not sure if you are on the right track, here are some of the common characteristics of great leaders.
1. They value their time.
For great leaders, every tick of the clock matters. They value their time a lot because they want to do as much as they can. Because most leaders have lots of commitments, they make sure they are able to manage their time well. The best leaders are not only proactive but also purposeful. They love making good use of their time and are often looking to increase their productivity. Many leaders use time management tools like free time clock software. This helps them plan their days better and respond realistically as unexpected things come up.
2. They are committed.
Great leaders don’t wait for everything to be perfect before they commit to something. They accept their responsibilities wholeheartedly and don’t make excuses. They don’t talk much or make empty promises, but instead act on something and work hard to achieve it. Everyone faces hurdles throughout a leadership journey but a great leader won’t back out and give up. Instead, their commitment will allow them to get up after each failure, and inspire team members to do the same.
3. They put people first.
Great leaders are not selfish. They always focus on other people and how they can make things better for them. If a leader is people-oriented, she or he shows genuine care and appreciation to team members and develops strategies for their improvement. People-oriented leadership allows managers to build stronger relationships with team members, improve work efficiency, and create a friendlier work environment.
4. They motivate themselves and others.
Great leaders will not force people to follow them but motivate and inspire them to do so. They push people to be their best without any stress or pressure. As leaders, they know how to be a good exemplar to their followers. If a leader easily gives up on problems, his followers will do the same. On the one hand, if a leader shows courage and hard work, he will influence others to do their best and reach for success.
5. They serve a greater cause.
Because great leaders are selfless, they always think about how they can help others. They are highly ambitious but sometimes, these ambitions are not for themselves but for other people. Great leaders are go-getters but also possess humility. They know that success starts from the ground and once they achieve it, they share the things that come with it with the people in need. This is also why some of the world successful leaders donate to charities or even establish their own charity organizations.
6. They know when to make tough decisions.
Leaders make the toughest decisions for the organization, and this is where they can practice their decision-making skills. Before making a big decision, great leaders assess everything carefully. They do their best to be considerate to others while thinking about the long-term implications of a certain decision. Some leaders make difficult decisions and just move on. Great leaders; on the other hand, explain to affected people why they made such a decision and share the possible implications. Some people may voice disagreements, but collaborating in this way will make followers feel like they are really a part of the organization.
7. They have faith in their beliefs.
All leaders experience moments or even seasons of self-doubt, hesitation, and confusion, but successful leaders make sure faith and leadership go hand-in-hand. Before they gain the trust of their followers, leaders should first believe in what they can do. When they make a big, tough decision, they are determined that this is for the good of everyone in the organization. Great leaders always stick to their leadership core values and beliefs and adhere to them.
8. They know their team well.
For great leaders, there is no substitute for knowing the people on their team. Despite the number of employees they have, great leaders ensure that they get to know each of them well. When they reward their team members, they make sure it is something valuable for them. To know their team better, they start with effective communication such as regular check ins, both formal and informal. Observing the team members in the workplace also helps great leaders in learning more about what motivates them as well as their individual needs for achievement. With this information, it is easier to drive employee engagement and motivation.
In truly great leaders, intelligence matters less than values like courage, humility, people-orientedness, faith, commitment, and motivation.
About the Author
Margarita Nelson is a Communications Manager at Free Time Tracking (AMGTime) in Los Angeles, California. The company’s products make time and attendance management more efficient on the part of the employers and employees.