Step up to the plate! There are 32.6 million businesses in the United States, and each one has at least one leader.
If you want to run a business or make a difference in people’s lives, you need to become a great leader. But you shouldn’t rush into a leadership position yet. You need to understand what makes a great leader and take steps to assume leadership traits.
What are the qualities that all leaders must have? How can you be assertive without alienating your employees? How can you improve your leadership traits over time?
Answer these questions and you can have the characteristics of a good leader in no time. Here is your comprehensive guide.
A great leader is someone who cares about the people around them. They provide opportunities to their employees that challenges them without overwhelming them. They make a difference in the world around them and help people out however they can.
Compassion and empathy relate closely to each other. When you empathize with someone, you take their perspective and feel the emotions they are feeling. You can use empathy to fuel your compassion and desire to help other people.
You should also care about your natural environment. Your company should not produce products that destroy ecosystems and rely on valuable resources.
Compassion does not mean passivity. You should not let others take advantage of your kindness. You should not tolerate someone who is disrespectful toward others.
People often think of spectacular actions when they think of courage. They think about soldiers running onto a battlefield or political protesters.
But courage in a good leader may mean smaller actions. It may be expressing a new idea that challenges the people around you. It may be providing feedback to an employee who is superior to you.
Courage is something that may require a lot of work. You can be courageous by using positive self-talk and practicing mindfulness. If you become comfortable with yourself, you will be more comfortable with speaking out about things you don’t like.
A good leader will foster courage in other people. Create an environment where people feel comfortable speaking out. You can allow whistleblowers to report problems with your company to senior leaders or third-party investigators.
Creativity can mean producing works of art. But it can also mean coming up with a new idea or perspective that no one else has thought of. You can develop new products or processes that help you resolve major problems.
The more you practice creativity, the more creative you will be. Give yourself opportunities to be creative, including by making art.
Do research on your industry, including by talking to people who don’t work for your company. Understand what their perspectives are and what problems they need to solve.
Experiment with different ways of doing work. Working at a standing desk or while you are on an exercise bike can help you generate new ideas.
Burnout can affect anyone, and it can diminish your creativity. Take breaks and do something fun after you’re done with work.
When you are curious, you want to develop your skills and learn more about the world around you. You can express your curiosity in many different ways. You can read books, have conversations with people, and travel to different parts of the world.
Ask questions whenever you are confused or curious. Get resources from professionals in your area so you are always learning about your industry.
As you get older, you may find yourself growing less curious. Try to improve your attention so you are better able to focus on subjects you find interesting. Take notes on interesting details so you memorize your favorite subjects better.
Emotional intelligence relates to how you use your emotions to resolve situations and improve your life. It is okay to feel intense negative emotions, and it is okay to cry, scream, or yell.
The key is that you process what you are feeling and don’t blame yourself for having strong feelings. After you have an intense emotional experience, you should sit down with yourself and think about what happened. You can write in a journal or make a work of art to get catharsis.
Compassion and empathy relate significantly to emotional intelligence. Emotionally intelligent people can understand what others are feeling and take steps to improve their emotions.
However, you also understand your limitations. Some people need comfort when they are upset while others need to be left alone. You should know who needs what and give them the resources they need.
You should remain calm during stressful times. Yet you should respect people who become frustrated. If they make mistakes, help them correct their errors instead of punishing them.
You do not have to be old in order to be a great leader. But a good leader does have knowledge of their industry and experience working with a group of people.
Good leaders also know who they are working with. They understand what their strengths and weaknesses are and what they should do to help them.
Leaders learn from their experience, including their mistakes. They think about what they did wrong and what they can do in the future to prevent their errors.
You should be honest with your coworkers about your experience. If you’re lacking in a certain area, you should tell your workers about that. This lets you overcome your mistakes and be a better professional.
Whenever someone does you a favor, you should thank them. In the future, you should do them a favor and tell them that they do not have to pay you back. This creates a more compassionate workplace and shows the depth of your gratitude.
Encourage your workers to express their gratitude. You can start a gratitude wall, asking your employees to write cards about what they are thankful for.
You should get to know someone and then offer them gifts based on their personalities. Someone who likes dogs can get a dog leash or dog bowl. This shows that you care about them on a deep level outside of the workplace.
Humility is a complicated and tricky leadership trait. It means having a realistic view of yourself and understanding what your strengths and weaknesses are. You acknowledge your weaknesses and do not assume tasks you are not qualified for.
Humility does not mean passivity. You should take charge of the situation when leaders are needed and resolve the situation.
What it means is that you are aware of your limitations and want to improve them. Do a self-evaluation of your skills and personality every few months. If you feel you are lacking in a particular area, you should dedicate the next few months to improving yourself.
Though you should be humble, you should not be insecure about yourself. You should take pride in your accomplishments and acknowledge what you are doing right.
Yet you shouldn’t be arrogant. If you tell yourself you are perfect and you don’t need to improve anything, you should stop yourself and reflect on your imperfections.
Ask someone about what makes a good leader, and they’ll talk to you about integrity. Leaders should have strong moral principles and be willing to fight for them tooth and nail.
Leaders should believe in social justice, hard work, and truthfulness. You may disagree with other leaders about how to achieve these objectives. But you should defend these principles and take steps to create a workplace that reinforces them.
You should not blindly follow the rules. If something needs to be changed, you should use your position to change it.
Integrity also means honesty. When someone asks you a question, you should answer it to the best of your ability, even if it means hurting your reputation.
Learning agility means you know what to do when you don’t know something. It overlaps with curiosity, but it affects the actions you take when you are curious and confused.
When you have agility, you know what resources you need to understand something. You know how to ask questions precisely so you can get the information you need. You can process information quickly and use your new knowledge to help people.
As with curiosity, you want to strengthen your attention to detail and memory. It is okay to take notes and use flashcards to improve your memory.
You must be receptive to new information, even if it contradicts what you know or believe. If you find contradictory evidence, you should consider changing your beliefs or challenging the information you now have.
Active listening requires a lot of effort. You must sit down and pay full attention to the person you are listening to.
You make eye contact with them and send non-verbal cues to indicate that you are listening to them. You can nod your head, smile, and write notes on the conversation.
When you provide feedback, you should paraphrase what they said and ask for clarification. Never interrupt someone unless you must. Let the speaker finish their point and then ask them a question.
Demonstrate your compassion and empathy during your conversation. Change your facial expression so you display a similar emotion that the speaker has. Let the speaker become emotional and reassure them with a hand on their shoulder or soothing words.
Public Speaking Prowess
Public speaking does not just mean giving keynote addresses. Those speeches are important, but a good leader should be able to give small-scale presentations and command the attention of a room during meetings.
You should inspire people with your public speaking. You can tell them inspirational stories and give strategies on how to overcome obstacles.
You should be confident while you are speaking in public. You should stand up straight, gesture with your hands, and change the sound of your voice.
Feel free to develop your own style of public speaking. You can raise or lower your pitch to underscore a point. You can be humorous when it is appropriate, or you can develop a more formal and conservative style.
Becoming a great public speaker requires a lot of practice. You can watch speeches online and learn from professionals about what to do. You should practice any major speech several times, performing in front of a mirror so you know how your face and body look.
You may use speech fillers, especially when you are anxious. But try to reduce your fillers and improve your rhetoric. You can use techniques like alliteration and assonance to make your language more poetic.
Resilience is how you overcome and adapt to difficulties in your life. You may never complete the process of resilience. But you reach a place where you can handle the emotional stress of your difficulties and keep going.
Resilience requires developing self-regulation and coping skills. You learn how to remain mindful when you are confronting stressors. You also learn how to process your experiences and care for yourself, including by exercising and eating healthy foods.
People react to stresses and trauma differently. Things that might be stressful for some people may not be stressful for other people. Some people may need to cope by themselves while others like to socialize.
Give room for people within your company to cope however they like. You can hire a keynote speaker on resilience to come in and talk with your employees.
What Makes a Great Leader
You can figure out what makes a great leader. A leader needs to care about their work, employees, and the world around them. Being compassionate, courageous, and honorable will help you significantly.
You should respect your employees and give them essential resources. This includes giving them opportunities to speak about important issues and take charge of situations. But you should not be passive, and you should ask effective questions to challenge your workers.
Stay committed to learning about good leadership. Hone your skills and read more guides on leadership by following our coverage.