One of the big questions in business is this: Are great leaders born that way, or do they practice a set of habits that anyone can learn and practice? The current thinking is that leadership is a set of habits that can be learned by anyone. The more consistent you are in living and applying these habits, the better leader you will become.
There are plenty of possible habits you can adopt to become a great leader, but here are nine that will get you far along your own personal leadership journey.
1. Show enthusiasm.
Truly great leaders demonstrate a deep passion and enthusiasm for their work and for leading others. And, as it turns out, people become much more engaged in their jobs when they have an enthusiastic leader to follow. Find what you are passionate about and your enthusiasm and that of others will ignite.
2. Be approachable.
Great leaders welcome different points of view and challenging questions. Mastering approachability requires becoming a listener to and soundboard for the thoughts and ideas of others, and then taking action.
3. Have a sense of purpose.
The best leaders have a clear vision of where they are headed and what it will take to get there. An inspiring vision of the future is contagious, giving employees a sense of their place within an organization's greater purpose. Mastering a sense of purpose is easy if you understand how you fit in.
4. Be generous with praise.
Strong leaders make a point of recognizing the contributions of others and praising their successes. This means giving credit where it belongs. Great leaders share the credit liberally and routinely offer genuine and heartfelt thanks.
5. Communicate effectively.
Communication, when delivered effectively, is both inspirational and respectful. Mastering great communication skills requires getting to know people on an emotional and personal level and then responding to their needs.
6. Be brave.
When things go bump in the night, it is the fearless leader who steers the ship and makes the tough decisions--all the while taking into account the needs of everyone within the organization. Mastering bravery comes with embracing the fact that risks do at times need to be taken to move forward, and that the safest path is not always the best path.
7. Be humble.
The best leaders don't expect their people to do anything they wouldn't do themselves. To master humility, you simply need to care about your employees and be willing to pitch in when necessary.
8. Be respectful.
The greatest leaders treat their people with the utmost respect. They understand that to gain the respect of others, they need pay that respect forward. Learning to respect others is simply keeping in mind that you should always treat others as you would want to be treated yourself--with kindness, compassion, and respect.
9. Be your true self.
Strong leaders are true to themselves and others. The decisions they make and the actions they take always align with who they are at all times. This is mastered by tapping into your true authentic self and never pretending to be something you are not.