Leadership is hard to describe with one definition because great leadership comes in all shapes and sizes. This is why we see hundreds of books and thousands of articles about developing leaders. One of my favorite quotes is from Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” and she says, “If you have an opportunity to get on a rocket ship, just get on and don’t ask where to sit.” I think this quote captures how a true leader thinks.
There is no one specific formula that someone can follow to become a great leader, but there are some guiding principles and traits that most great leaders possess.
- #1 Honesty and Integrity
This one is a given for truly great leadership! Great leaders have and value honesty and integrity and they build these qualities into the culture and foundation of their companies.
- #2 Lead by Example
Momentum comes from the top down. Those you lead are learning from your daily habits. I never ask someone to do something that I am not willing do myself, and I think that is important to remember for great leadership.
- #3 Recognize Others
Remember to consistently acknowledge and thank the people around you for the great things that they are doing within the company. It’s helpful to build in opportunities throughout the year to intentionally call out and thank people for their dedication and effort. Throughout the year we recognize staff for their accomplishments and then again when we go all out with personalized awards at our annual employee party.
- #4 Have a Clear Vision
Great leadership means setting direction for the company and being able to effectively communicate your vision with your team. Employees want to know what your vision is and what they can do to help everyone get there.
- #5 Be a Team Builder
Leadership is having the ability to build other leaders. When employees see that they have a cheerleader in their corner who can help them develop into a great leader, they are more likely to stay with you.
These are just a few of the characteristics of a great leader. As you think about these and continue to strengthen each quality in yourself, just remember that you aren’t expected to be perfect at all of these right away. Great leaders never stop learning and developing their skills each and every day.