Do You Possess These Leadership Characteristics?

BY Tim Londergan
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Leaders help to shape our modern world. While some leaders are placed in position, others earn their position. Still, others are there owing to attrition or legacy. Regardless of how one arrived in their position of responsibility, leaders must realize that “Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less,” according to author, John Maxwell. Nevertheless, strong leadership characteristics often make the difference between a good leader and a bad one.

As Britain’s Head of State for 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II is currently the favorite member of the Royal Family. The Queen is a symbol and representative of Great Britain and wields influence to unite people across the country. According to Ipsos​.com, Britons describe her as powerful, capable and someone who has sound judgement. Her leadership style reflects a sense of duty and selflessness cast on the day of her coronation and her 21st birthday.

Actions reveal leadership characteristics

Just as Queen Elizabeth II has maintained her pledge of service, great leaders must act in accordance with their beliefs. Remarkably, this is the hallmark of integrity. Though it should be obvious, integrity is an essential leadership trait that may be a potential blind spot for organizations. Other leadership characteristics that rank high on the list are delegation and communication. Delegation instills trust and allows others to grow. Unfortunately, poor leaders believe it is just a way to free themselves from mundane tasks. Meanwhile, communication can serve to inspire others and to coach direct reports. This is according to the Center for Creative Leadership’s (CCL) article on leading effectively.

Draw power from an inward focus

Aside from direct action, effective leaders must be self-​aware. Recognizing your own strengths and weaknesses is powerful. However, knowing how you are viewed by others is a strength unsurpassed. Here’s a challenge: As you identify your leadership characteristics, try to ascertain your leadership reputation. This exercise is part of CCL’s four facets that help to increase your internal and external self-​awareness. This step is preceded by leadership identity, which taps into your social identity, and it’s followed by leadership brand. Surprisingly, you’ll find these steps will help you identify your blind spots and make plans to address them.

Great leaders are great learners

Queen Elizabeth II has an inquisitive and curious mind. She constantly asks questions of officials and members of the public. Likewise, in our rapidly changing world, leaders need to elevate their understanding and listen for clues that predict disruption and innovation. Therefore, learning agility is highly valued among the top leadership characteristics.. Consequently, many great leaders are known for their creative problem solving and adaptability. In meeting the challenges of an uncertain world, leaders must find, internalize and apply information and solutions never before imagined.

Empathy, courage and respect

Empathetic behavior in the modern workplace requires emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence taps into the core elements of human nature and interactions to become the basis of many leadership characteristics. For instance, fostering a sense of belonging and empowering others in the workplace score enormous points toward effective leadership. Further, having the courage to speak out to declare a new idea or flag a concern to upper management is an emblem of bravery. Finally, being respectful of others is one of the most outwardly visible actions a leader can take. However, being respected for a position, or your work habits or your people skills is not enough. Consistent acts of kindness, being polite, helpful and listening to others are means to earning respect. Significantly, earning respect as a person is the ultimate characterization of a leader.

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