OCT 19, 2021
Great leaders create change and inspire. They influence and impact others in a way that stirs everyone’s hearts and aligns them towards a collective aim.
Every successful organization has great leaders. Every progressive country has great leaders. And all the people who become truly successful are great leaders.
Whether it is leading a country, making an organization successful, or becoming a successful person yourself, being a great leader is critical.
And, you can become a great leader too. If Mahatma Gandhi went from being a shy, timid, and under-confident lawyer to a changemaker who led India to freedom, you can also win over your current circumstances and become a successful leader.
But, there’s a significant barrier between you and the leader inside you. Until and unless you don’t get over this barrier, reading blog posts about “Qualities of a Great Leader” will never help you because this wall will not let you tap into these qualities already within you.
Let’s deal with this barrier and clear your path to successful and influential leadership becomes simple and obstacle-free.
So, what’s the barrier?
Is it something external? Is it a negative belief or fear? Or is it something within us?
The barrier is our understanding of leadership.
We must change the way we look at leadership so that we can become great leaders.
Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
What is Leadership?
Who do you think is a leader? Is it someone who is in the position of a CEO or President? Well,’ that’s what we mostly think. But in reality, this is far from the truth.
Just because someone is a CEO or the President of a company does not mean that they’re a capable or powerful leader. Getting the tag of a CEO does not mean anything if their employees don’t listen to them, resent them, and don’t produce good results. Also, if the company isn’t doing good, they are not a good leader.
So, getting some title or position in any hierarchy does not make you a good or effective leader.
When you look at many kings throughout history, you’ll find that some of them were great, whereas others let their empires break apart, let alone annex new territories.
John Maxwell has rightly said, “Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.”
Leadership is about creating influence and impact on the people around you. If you’re leading an organization, you have to communicate your vision so well that it impacts your employees directly and inspires them to keep working and delivering the best results. You also have to show them the way and offer solutions to the problems that come up. You must lead by example too and show that you aren’t just talking, but also doing.
Leaders are like the headlamps in a car. They aren’t the ones driving the car, but they influence and guide the decisions that lead the car to its destination. They can see 10 to 20 meters ahead of what most other people can, which helps them guide others and act as true visionary leaders.
The true meaning of leadership is influencing other people’s lives and leading them towards a better future. It is not about the titles because if it were, no company would fail, and no kingdom would’ve fallen.
What are the 5 Qualities of a Great Leader
Now that we know what true leadership means let’s look at the top 5 qualities that great and effective leaders have and how these help them create impact and influence.
- They are effective communicators. Great leaders know how to communicate well. They talk with power and instill passion and inspiration in everyone who listens to them. They explain the vision, various concepts, and future action plans with complete simplicity and make sure that everyone understands them. This allows leaders to create influence as other people know what they’re talking about and the action that needs to be taken. But communication isn’t just a one-way street. It is both ways. And that is why great leaders are the best listeners. When talking to someone, they don’t barge in and interrupt the other person with their opinions. They listen intently and try to understand completely. Then, they respond accordingly with respect. This makes other people feel respected and important, which is crucial for any leader who wants supporters and allies instead of enemies. Another vital part of communication is being open-minded, and that’s what all great leaders have. If you’re leading an organization, but the people you work with are afraid or hesitant to talk about something with you or express their opinions freely, you are doing something wrong. As a leader, you should be open to new ideas and opinions. You are not the dictator, so only your thoughts and ideas aren’t enough. You must understand other people’s ideas too and respect them because those ideas may just solve the problem at hand.
- They are humble. Look at the most influential leaders in the world, and you’ll find one thing that is common in all of them: they are grounded and humble. They don’t boast in ego and fly high, thinking they are the best and know everything. They instead have a learner’s attitude, are open to new ideas, and are grounded in their roots and values. They don’t get into arguments to prove that they are right. They just guide others into a meaningful discussion to show what is right to do. They don’t show off their intelligence or superiority to others. They are approachable, and they give importance to other people first. Why? Because they know that if the people don’t believe in them, they aren’t leaders at all. They must be grounded and relatable, along with being a visionary person who is confident and bold, allowing them to connect with others and influence without being looked upon as arrogant or selfish.
- They are in the present moment. When good leaders deliver a speech, they don’t focus on anything else apart from expressing their ideas clearly. When they are talking to someone, it doesn’t matter if their phone is buzzing with messages or a circus is happening right in front of them; the only thing they’ll focus on is the other person and what they are talking about. That’s called being involved and is also a crucial part of being a good listener. If you are in the present moment and only focus on the work you’re doing right now or the person you are talking to, nothing else will deter your focus, and you’ll create maximum impact. Other people will feel that you genuinely understand them, and you’ll be able to offer the best solutions and guidance, making you an effective and influential leader. Complete immersion leads to new and creative solutions.
- They take full responsibility. Good leaders don’t shrug off responsibility and play the blame game. They are quick and prompt in taking responsibility for everything that happens to them, by them, or through them. Anything that they even barely influence, they take responsibility for it. Let’s take this example. A CEO asks the sales manager, “I need the sales report for a month and include the sales of all our products. I have to present it at the board meeting next week, so please submit it in five days.” The manager agrees and leaves.” After five days, the manager comes back with the proper report for one month. But there’s a problem, it is October 1st, and the CEO needed the sales report for September, but the manager brought the sales report for August. The manager was told about this on September 25th, so he considered that the report must be for August. In this situation, the CEO can easily blame the manager for not clarifying the doubt and making this silly mistake. But that’s not what a good leader does. Instead, the CEO will assume full responsibility for it because he realizes that it was his responsibility to clarify the exact month of the report. That’s how great leaders take responsibility. When they do this, the control of the situation comes into their hands, allowing them to manage it well and act assertively.
- They appreciate and practice gratitude. Great leaders never step back from appreciating or expressing gratitude. They do it at every moment possible, and don’t worry that it might sound cheesy or sugarcoated. They express it genuinely with their heart and make it a point to do so every day. When they spread gratitude and appreciation, they send out positive energy, which creates a positive environment around them, motivating everyone to keep doing their best. Your environment affects you very deeply, and this is a sure-shot way of keeping it energetic and positive. Also, constant appreciation acts as an acknowledgment of success for other people, making them feel good. Expressing gratitude also makes you humbler as you don’t believe that you are the only one doing everything and actively recognize other people’s contributions.
Leadership is about impact and influence, not about the title you have.
When you focus on creating influence and impact, you become a great leader. When you imbibe the five qualities mentioned in this blog post, you’ll find out that all of them are intricately connected and work in sync with each other.
Are you all set to become a great leader now?