Not everyone can be a leader. Not everyone has the DNA required for exceptional leadership. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t all learn important lessons.
If there’s one thing a leader should be a master at, it’s influencing others. A person who cannot influence others can never lead. Irrespective of the title or position, a leader is someone people are forced to notice. He or she commands attention, trust, and respect.
However, getting other people to follow your lead is never easy.
Perhaps that’s the reason it’s said that leaders are born, not made. Leadership is an inherent quality, the traits of which are found in the DNA. Similarly, while every leader is unique, some common characteristics are found in all. If you possess these traits, you have the makings to become an exceptional leader.
1. Lead with a clear vision and passion to succeed.
Passion is an essential ingredient in the DNA of great leadership.
Think about it. Every organization moves forward with a clear vision, mission, and objective. The team has to move towards a common goal. And this wouldn’t be possible if they weren’t being led by someone capable.
Everyone encounters obstacles and challenges along the way. However, great leaders don’t get distracted. It’s not in their leadership DNA to lose sight of what they want. Likewise, they have a burning passion for succeeding, and they don’t allow the flame to diminish.
Leaders don’t back down, no matter how tough things get. They are willing to pay the price for success. They don’t understand failure. Every setback is merely a motivation to come back even stronger.
2. Leaders have a fixed plan.
Exceptional leaders are the ones who know what they want. They have their eyes set on the goal and understand the value of careful planning. Hence, they analyze their organization’s weaknesses, strengths, and threats to come up with a strategy that will take them close to their goal.
These leaders know how to make the most of the available resources. They recognize the time to strike! These people are patient and methodical. As a result, they pursue their objectives relentlessly and are willing to tweak their approach as required. Likewise, leaders always have a knack for turning problems into opportunities.
3. Promote discipline with leadership.
Discipline is an integral part of the DNA of every successful leader.
Let’s face it. Your company’s culture influences your overall performance significantly. Are the people in your company too laidback or lazy? Overall productivity will plummet.
A true leader understands the importance of discipline and commitment. Similarly, he knows the value of accountability. Hence, he promotes a culture wherein people stick to a particular system. Of course, this does not imply that you cage your team. They get ample freedom and responsibility but within the framework of the system.
Promote a culture of discipline in your organization. When you do, it becomes easier to determine where the performance is lacking. The leader can then work on improving those aspects.
To lead a team, you have to win their trust and respect. Similarly, you have to ensure cooperation and teamwork are cultivated in them. And this wouldn’t be possible if the team wasn’t led by someone who knows how to unite everyone.
4. Leaders create successful, efficient systems.
Great leaders don’t follow the system. They invent them!
Indeed, a business cannot operate smoothly without an efficient system. Great leaders decide how to design operational systems that can increase their efficiency and help them accomplish their goals. Likewise, they don’t get frustrated if things don’t work out. Instead, they look for solutions.
These leaders know how to utilize their talent and resources to yield desired results. They are well aware that improvement and innovation are mandatory for a company’s growth. Hence, they continue to change the operating system as required.
5. Leaders are their own critics.
Those who lead have to realize the importance of measuring their performance. They shouldn’t shy away from recognizing their weaknesses. Instead, they work on turning their weakness into strengths.
Yes, leaders occasionally have to rely on their experience to make decisions. However, they also have to keep an eye on the data. Similarly, they have to keep tabs on the key performance indicators to analyze their progress. And they know they have to hold everyone, including themselves, accountable for the results.
A true leader is one who recognizes when the competition is faring better than him. And then uses the data and information to outsmart the opposite side.
6. Great leadership exhibits humanity and compassion.
The DNA of a true leader isn’t all about performance, goals, and results. He or she possesses human qualities, too. It’s crucial for the team that the one who leads them genuinely cares about them. That’s the only way to gain the loyalty of your employees.
There’s a reason that communication is considered to be among the most vital skills for a leader. The one who leads has to be accessible and approachable. Likewise, he or she should have a reputation for being a good listener. People expect their leaders to be fair and kind.
If you don’t have impeccable integrity and good judgment, you cannot lead a team. Of course, your human qualities shouldn’t cloud your judgment. Similarly, your persistence in searching for excellence should never waiver.
At the same time, you have to accept that anyone can make mistakes, including yourself. Leaders don’t belittle others for their mistakes. Instead, they correct in private. They hold themselves accountable and never abstain from taking full responsibility when things don’t go right.
The Makings of a Truly Great Leader: Inspire And Be Inspired!
It’s not always about having the DNA for leadership. Your surroundings matter too.
A great leader is one who surrounds himself with the right people. Indeed, it’s always beneficial to be in the company of those more skilled or talented than you.
You have to recognize people’s talents and how to utilize them in the best way possible. Leaders don’t hold onto all the power. Instead, they empower others and encourage their coworkers to take ownership. Remember, a great leader never stops learning.
Exceptional leaders always shine in the crowd. Their demeanor, conduct, and personality make them the object of attention. Yet, they don’t lose their humility. Indeed, it’s easier to want to be a leader rather than to be one.