Leadership is not something we're born with--it's a set of skills we learn. Some specific skills and traits seem to be especially important to successful leaders, who carry them regardless of the company, team or organization they're leading.
Here are seven of the top traits that make some leaders more effective than others:
1. They promote a compelling vision. Every leadership success always starts with a vision, and the most successful leaders know how to create a clear, distinctive compelling vision that connects to the strategic plans of the company. A vision reduces uncertainty and provides focus. Truly effective leaders have the ability to express the vision and use it to inspire others. This trait alone can sometimes differentiate a good leader from great leader.
2. They treat others the way they want to be treated. When it comes to leading people, the golden rule is among the most important principles. Your skills and experience might land you in a leadership position but they're not what is going to make you a great effective leader. An inner awareness of who you are, coupled with a desire to treat others well, is a powerful thing. Leaders who embrace the golden rule are able to direct, guide and inspire those around them.
3. They admit their mistakes. Too often, leaders are expected to always have the answers and always be right--but what they should be really held responsible for is being responsible and accountable. Even the greatest leaders have made mistakes, and the most effective ones are the those who will own up to them them--because they know their mistakes have taught them invaluable lessons, and they've come to see them as opportunities to learn. Transparency allows them to share their their mistakes--and the lessons they carried.
4. They make themselves part of the action. Great leadership is not setting yourself apart from others--it's about taking action, building relationships, developing others and making decisions. At the end of the day, only action produces results. It takes an effective leader to lead others into the action that will produce the outcome.
5. They are great communicators. If you examine our world's greatest leaders you will find that they were exceptional communicators. They knew that it's not the messenger who is important but the the message, and everything they communicate has to do with meeting the needs and expectations of those around them. An exceptional leader understands that they need to be aware of not only of the situation but also the context . They have to know what is going on around them, adjust accordingly, and express themselves with great care.
6. They know how to delegate. When we think of leadership, we probably think of courage, resiliency, boldness and determination--not something as everyday as delegation. But the ability to wisely and effectively delegate is a quality that is extremely important when it comes to leadership skills, and it's crucial to a leader's success. Whether you're a manager at work, owner of your own business, or simply working on a business venture, effective delegation is one of the keys to effective leadership. A leader is are capable to do their job, which in turn it allows the leader to do theirs. Anyone who insists on doing everything on their own is failing to lead.
7. They make others feel important. Effective leaders pay attention to their people and let them know how important they are by genuinely caring about helping them succeed. They're comfortable enough in their own skin to take the focus off themselves and shine the spotlight on others, and they know that making people feel important is especially important to successful leadership. Set a personal goal to make others feel important--if for no other reason, then because it's the right thing to do.