“The very core of leadership is that you need to have vision. You can’t blow a hesitant trumpet.” This is what well-known scholar Theodore M. Hesburgh said about leadership. Leadership is a very desirable attribute among successful people no matter what type of business they are in. And if you talk about business, then leadership is a must for carrying out your tasks effectively. Thus, every successful entrepreneur embraces some leadership quality within herself.
But the reality is that being a leader is not that easy. Everyone is not a leader; in fact, we cannot be leaders if there are no followers. Many people believe leadership as such is a human trait that is possibly related to genetics—that people inherit their leadership skills by birth. Leaders possess some unique qualities that allow them to easily motivate others. Let’s take a few minutes to review the different qualities or skills good leaders possess.
First, as a leader you need to have a unique ideology. If you look at the great business leaders such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Sam Walton, you will find each of them has their own ideology that allows them to step out and up, easily reaching such a top position. Thus, the very first component of leadership is having a unique ideology. Begin thinking about what makes you unique as an individual and how this translates into your being or becoming the great leader you want to be.
Secondly, a leader needs to have passion toward his work and tasks. Passion is all about being confident so you are able to “own” the work results you produce. Through your own passion, as a leader you are able to motivate your followers. A successful leader creates a great example by performing and completing similar tasks that show her followers the “how” of business.
Every successful leader needs to be well-organized. A disorganized leader can’t lead; at best, he can give orders. If you’re fatigued and confused, your squad will also be. If you are structured, your productivity will increase and so will that of everyone else. Thus, the overall productivity of a business firm will increase. As a leader you hold the responsibility to set the level of expectation of work performance and productivity.
Proper job distribution is an important issue. A great leader needs be able to allot or delegate effectively. The appropriate job distribution provides employees the feeling of ownership and results in the employees performing their positions more effectively. Delegating doesn’t mean you as a leader get to wash your hands of responsibility; it means you are empowering your employees to be independent while building mutual trust.
Communication is a critical factor that affects the leadership process. A good leader needs to send proper messages to his employees. Being able to effectively communicate the ‘how, what, where and when” of delegated tasks is one side of the equation. The other is recognizing a job well done and solution-focused productivity. As a leader, it’s important for you to communicate when you recognize and appreciate these qualities in your employees, as it lends to increased trust and loyalty. People need certification; they want to be recognized in their positions. And you as their leader need to tell them. You not only provide the praise and constructive feedback to your team members, but you also need to be a good listener. If you want to be a leader, you need to give proper attention to the feedback your employees provide – no matter how difficult it might be to hear. Giving proper attention (meaning undivided attention) to people makes them feel you’re honestly trying to understand their issue, which motivates them even more.
As a quality leader, you need to be open to getting to know your employees personally; you don’t need to be friends, but you need to know what motivates them. In this case, knowing something about their personal lives helps to serve this purpose. Keeping track of simple things like birthdays, marriages, children, etc., goes a long way toward increasing loyalty and morale.
As an entrepreneur, you are also a leader—which means you need to have a combination of all the above-mentioned qualities (or at least be working on attaining them). Being a leader means being enthusiastic and confident while feeling motivated yourself. A good leader is a good human being: someone who cares for her followers and thinks about them as individuals when seeking solutions for challenges.
Being a good leader overnight is rarely possible. Rather, time and practice shows the path. If you have the mind set up to direct your followers as well as learn from them along your journey with them, you will be treated as a good leader.
Until next time, embrace your inner wisdom.