Leadership wasn't something remotely close to being on the top of my priorities throughout my early adulthood.
At first, I thought leadership is something that requires lots of charisma and a great smile. But leadership is much more than that.
I'm learning that leadership develops over time through experiences and conditioning of your behavior to make it automatic. There are many quality traits required to be a great leader. But throughout my early journey, here are seven traits that will help you become a better leader immediately.
1. Stay focused on the present and avoid time traveling
As a leader, it's imperative that you have a vision. But it's also imperative that you focus on the present moment above anything else. It's tempting to get lost in the vision of the future. It's also tempting to get lost in the past and bring some of those shortcomings or regrets to the present.
Neither of those situations serves you. The past is irreversible and the future is too uncertain to predict. All you can control is the present moment and your emotions.
2. Focus on your communication
When it comes to leading others, it's essential to deliver clear communication and expectations of others and the vision.
Communication isn't only you talking to them. In fact, being an excellent leader is about you doing less talking and more listening. Listen to what your partners and employees have to say, then respond with empathy.
3. Take care of your health
Prioritizing your well-being is one of the best ways to improve your company culture and bottom line while inspiring others.
But, as the leader of the company, it starts with you. People will follow your example, thus it's important to provide a great model for them to follow. Focusing on your well-being doesn't only mean ripped abs. It also includes your emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being.
4. Check your ego
Earn your leadership from doing the right actions day in and day out. This starts by placing a priority on serving others first and foremost. When you make decisions, they're top-of-mind in the process.
A leader doesn't worry about what people will think nor how something will look because doing so means he's in the spotlight and is being selfish.
A great leader deflects the spotlight away from himself and shines it on everyone else.
5. Practice optimism
This isn't about being a cheerleader and giving pep talks. This is more about your body language and attitude. Optimism is contagious and can inspire others around you. Being optimistic helps with creating better engagement and connections with others. Another benefit of being an optimist is your health (in particular lowering your stress).
Being an optimist helps you see new opportunities and move on quicker to new endeavors.
6. Accept setbacks and failures
A key factor in leadership is accepting responsibility instead of deflecting it onto others. If you come short on your first quarter goals or a deal falls through, take responsibility as the leader instead of throwing someone else under the bus.
This builds trust and helps strengthen your team in the long run. Don't let setbacks crush your vision and disrupt the momentum generating. Instead, accept and learn from the situation, then implement those lessons into your new plan.
7. Let others evaluate you
You're keeping your employees and others accountable, but who is keeping you accountable? It's a two-way street. Let your employees and partners grade you on the things you're supposed to do. This shows that above all else, the company's mission is the priority, not you.