Posted: March 7, 2019
Since human beings first walked upon the earth, there have been men and women who’ve stood out, who have gathered others around them to conquer new territory, to pioneer new technology, to spread new ideas far and wide. These leaders have achieved great things by bringing together talented people and inspiring them to do amazing things.
Organizations thrive with great leaders at the helm. Leaders develop their teams, build trust, encourage innovation, and – above all – achieve results. John Zenger, author and CEO of Zenger|Folkman, conducted research concluding all great leaders possessed one or more of 16 leadership qualities. Below, we discuss five of those qualities:
1. DEVELOPS STRATEGIC PERSPECTIVE
“You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” —Ken Kesey
The best leaders demonstrate a commitment to doing the best with what they have. Leaders are attracted to the roles and the organisations where they can truly get behind the brand and message, and where their skills will really make a difference. This gives a leader a unique view of the company from the top down and bottom up, so they are able to present a plan to move the company forward.
Leaders understand the mission, and their purpose within that mission is clear and understandable. They are able to align strategy to that mission in order to ensure objectives aren’t just met, but smashed.
2. DISPLAYS HONESTY AND INTEGRITY
“The supreme quality of leadership is integrity.” –Dwight Eisenhower
Recently, we talked about an excellent TED talk by management expert Simon Sinek on how great leaders make people safe. Sinek explains that in an organisation, people need to feel as though their leaders are looking out for their interests and protecting them from harm so they can produce their best work. Trustworthiness and integrity as a leader should be of utmost importance on an organisational level.
3. COMMUNICATES POWERFULLY AND BROADLY
“I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody.” —Herbert Swope
Leaders need to be able to communicate at all levels of their organisation, and these communication skills need to go deeper than just assuring information ends up in the right place. You have to distill the company vision and goals into actionable steps for different departments and roles. And you have to be able to facilitate difficult conversations while maintaining your integrity and professionalism.
4. CONNECTS THE GROUP TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD
“The greatest leaders mobilize others by coalescing people around a shared vision.” —Ken Blanchard
Leaders are big picture thinkers. They see the future as clearly as if they were looking into a crystal ball. They understand different departments come together and goals converge to create a cohesive whole, and what that big picture means for the world at large.
And – most importantly – they can distill this vision and communicate it to their team, ensuring each person has the tools and resources they need to achieve their goals.
5. INSPIRES AND MOTIVATES OTHERS
“I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” —Ralph Nader
There’s a reason people admire and seek to emulate strong leaders. Leaders exude qualities we all wished we possessed in abundance: confidence, integrity, imagination, decisiveness, dedication, kindness. A leader is committed to excelling in every aspect of their role, and in inspiring this same commitment in others.
Leaders inspire their teams to become better people, and to take an active role in making the organisation great.
Leadership is a skill, and like any skill, it has to be honed and practiced in order to achieve the best results. Are your organisational leaders displaying these core leadership qualities?
Want more tips on leadership and success strategies for your company? Download our free guide, Success Strategies for Growing Smart Companies.