Being a leader takes a special and unique kind of person, and, quite frankly, not everyone is good at it. That’s why there are so many shared character traits between the successful leaders and those who want to think they’re inspiring others. You can fake it till you make it in a lot of things, but leadership isn’t one of them.
Strong leaders come from every type of background and all have different styles of managing, accomplishing goals and solving problems. These leaders are the admirable people who always seem to put out any fire, carry their team on their back through anything and ensure everyone is heard and seen as an equal. Becoming a successful leader takes a lot of work, effort, trial and error and struggle. That’s why understanding what character traits are most prominent in the best ones is so important.
When it comes to building a powerful person, well-known leaders like Bill Gates and Mary Barra share character traits with impressive leaders in your everyday life, like your boss. Of course, many people are born with these leadership skills, but most, if not all, can be learned. It’s a matter of practicing and perfecting them to become a leader that can be counted on and looked up to. The character traits listed below are a few very important ones that, once adapted in your own life, can lead to great leadership success.
The old saying rings true — patience really is a virtue, and a valuable one at that. If small things set you off or your buttons are easily pushed, it’s going to be tough trying to run a company, lead a team or start your own business. There will be plenty of circumstances where things will go wrong, have unfair results and make other aspects of your life complicated. Life’s not all roses, so it’s how you face adversity that shows your true leadership skills. Whether it’s something small scale like a stubborn employee or something large like a business decision gone wrong, being able to be patient is one of those powerful character traits good leaders develop.
In all aspects of life, being consistent is important. Forgetting events, not showing up, neglecting responsibilities and/or ignoring priorities are all a recipe for poor leadership. Perfection isn’t realistic — we all slip up and make mistakes — but having a track record of consistency will say a lot about who you are as a leader. When people know you’re dependable, you’ll be a inimitable leader to them.
Being able to fluidly move through any situation that your career or your life throws at you is paramount to making it as a leader and staying cool, calm and collected. Being adaptable allows you to face problems without a doomsday perspective, with confidence and trust in yourself being twos of those character traits that comes through here. It also gives you the ability to manage all types of personalities. If you can change your managing and teaching style based on who you’re working with, you’ll be respected and appreciated as a leader.
Giving up is, practically, antonymous with leadership, which is why persistence is one of the foundational leadership skills. Choosing to quit after hitting an obstacle or failing at something will only make you regress on your path to the top. Keeping at your goals means you’ll frequently achieve them. Continuing to follow your vision, even if the going gets rough, will make you a great leader and uphold your colleagues’ motivation and determination, too.
Sorry, guys, but you’re not the smartest person in the world. We know, it’s shocking news, right?
We all know someone who’s stuck in their ways and refuses to give other ideas or actions a chance. These folks are the ones who aren’t often seen as great leaders, as they stubbornly fail to accept opinions of others or trust people. If you aren’t willing to try something new, take a risk or be open to hearing what others have to say, it’ll be hard to win people over and be looked at as a responsible, intelligent authority on all subjects.
Yes, it’s open-mindedness that allows companies and teams to grow and stay relevant. Think of the businesses you admire and enjoy giving money too versus the ones that seem stale and outdated. The ones you love most likely have leaders who have worked with their teams to change and experiment, which keeps up with the trends and their target audience. Being open also allows you to see things from others’ point of view. This can help make the company culture more relaxed and comfortable, especially when your employees know that you’re not a black and white thinker.
When leaders have the critical character trait of self-reliance, they’re able to put their noses to the grindstone and get it done without the help of others. You’ll notice as you work your way up, there will be a lot of times where you’re on your own and have to rely on yourself for answers, ideas, help and resources. It’s that will power and drive that helps push you to get things done, even if no one else is there to lend a hand. Sure, it can feel isolating, but learning how to navigate problems and situations on your own will be an invaluable trait that develops into one of the most important leadership skills.
Lead image via Getty
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