If you type into Google ‘What features make you a great leader‘, you will come across many articles, research studies or quotes. It is clear that this is a frequently asked question by internet users. As our society, the leaders of the future will always be needed. While the present is so difficult and uncertain, thinking about the future can be difficult, but in times of great change and uncertainty, it is more crucial than ever to be prepared and one or a few steps ahead.
So, what is leadership?
Another way to understand leadership is to know what leadership is not! According to Kevin Kruse, author of Great Leaders Have No Rules, “Leadership is not management! Leadership and management are not synonymous. You have 15 people in your down line and P&L (profit & loss) responsibility? Good for you, hopefully you are a good manager. Good management is needed. Managers need to plan, measure, monitor, coordinate, solve, hire, fire, and so many other things. Typically, managers manage things. Leaders lead people.”
Leadership is transmitting your passion, inspiring and moving people towards a goal maximizing the effort.
Then, what makes you a great leader?
Warren Bennis once said, “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”
We would agree with that statement and say that there is no a particular personality type makes someone a better leader, but we have found that great leaders share certain qualities and skills which make them stand out.
Here are some leadership skills needed in the future:
Great leaders have a positive attitude
Successful leaders consider the opportunities of tomorrow instead of focusing on the problems of the past. They tend to see the opportunities despite of difficulties. They have an optimistic and affirming outlook, but this attitude should not be confused with being blindly positive! If leaders let their own negativity make them overwhelmed or immobilized, they know this negativity clouds not only their own judgment but also that of other employees or people around them. So leaders of the future must maintain an optimistic mindset even if things around them is likely to remain unsure and complex.
Great leaders are accountable and have confidence to undertake massive disruption
Accountability is essential to build trust and accountable leaders do not blame others when things go wrong. They take the responsibility and they are willing to answer for the consequences of their decisions and their actions in every situations they are involved in. Like everyone else, great leaders have made mistakes and failed at some point in their lives. Despite of these difficult experiences and their failure due to past mistakes, they always have the courage to own up to them. Their accountability for these failures and mistakes is an important factor in their eventual success.
Great leaders are lifelong learners
This is the genuine secret to their success! They’re always seeking ways to improve themselves and their performance. They get energy by learning more not only about their businesses but also about other areas of life. Also, they do not limit their learning opportunities. Instead of approaching every situation from their own perspectives, great leaders communicate and work with different generations together. Each brings unique skillsets and different perspectives to the business and open pathways to new thinking.
Great leaders embrace challenge
Tomorrow’s leaders have the ability to change their plans according to the reality of the situation. In times of great change and uncertainty, it’s getting more important to know how to treat ambiguity. Leaders of the future will need to be agile, be able to create and take an action quickly and passionately. Passion drives great leaders and passionate leaders are willing to take the biggest challenges and help make the biggest leaps forward, inspiring others to perform better as individuals and as a team.
Great leaders have a dynamic communication style that brings clarity around complexity
Effective communication is a core leadership function. Leaders must be effective and convincing communicators. They have the ability to see through complexity and complications, to make sense of messy situations filled with contradictions. It is important that managers or business owners learn how to listen, talk and act effectively as this helps them to lead their teams in completing goals successfully.
Great leaders are self-aware
Great leaders are aware of themselves, know their own strengths, challenges and purpose clearly and use this knowledge to manage their teams effectively. Self-awareness is a key component of emotional intelligence which is paramount in being an successful leader.
In a nutshell, if you can have a positive attitude and commit to improving yourself and keeping learning about others and your business, you can be a great leader no matter what behavioral preferences you have.
To support your leadership growth, learn how you can be a most effective leader in your company, check our leadership coaching program.