When you think about leadership you are actually thinking about influence. At its core, leadership is really about the influence or ability to move people to achieve goals or objectives.
When looking for leadership in an organization—perhaps in yourself—there are factors that are part of all great leaders. Consider these 12 factors to improve your leadership skills or help you identify those individuals in your organization who can take over leadership positions:
1. Motivation. Motivation is a huge key to any successful enterprise. Remember what motivates one person may not motivate another. True leaders can quickly identify motivating factors in people in order to move them in a certain direction. Some of the strongest motivators include money, fear, time, and power. In most cases, individuals will be motivated by several factors; however, one factor will prove to be the dominant one. When leaders find out what it is and how to use it, their ability to influence will be greatly improved.
2. Tolerance. Tolerance is really the ability to respect others views, without selling out. It is of utmost importance to understand where an organization and its employees are coming from and to realize that individuals may not understand their particular leader’s position. In order to accomplish this, leaders must have excellent communication skills.
3. Trust. Trust is necessary to create the right environment. Consider the three sides of a triangle or the BLT, which stands for Believe, Like, and Trust. A leader’s goal is always to attempt to have individuals and organizations Believe, Like, and Trust in them and the organization. When this is accomplished, leaders are well on the way to professional and personal success.
4. Purpose. Purpose is the mission and the driving force behind an organization, and leaders should clearly know and understand both his or her purpose and that of people who are part of the organization. In some cases, team members may not fully understand the real purpose of their jobs or even that of their organization.It is the job of all leaders to effectively convey mission and purpose to others as they are expected to know them.
5. Vision. All leaders have a clear vision, which is really what the ideal future will look like. It is important that a vision include values, and it is critical that good leadership makes sure that an organization and its employees agree with the leader’s vision. When that person’s vision does not match the organizational vision, there will be problems.
6. Attitude. This may seem like a small thing, but a positive attitude can make a big difference and conversely, a negative attitude can also make a big difference—but not in a good way. People and organizations feed off of leaders, and those with positive attitudes will receive the best response.
7. Awareness. A leader’s awareness is the understanding of not just her or his own identity, but the identity of the people around them and the organization they represent. Each and every individual has a core identity, and the awareness to understand that core will improve leadership.
8. Determination. It is impossible to become an effectual leader without this trait. Failure often accompanies leadership, and those who are not determined will never get off the mat and pull themselves back up. When determination starts to disappear, leadership will begin to fail. Determination never takes a vacation or gets sick; it should be working every day.
9. Faith. Great leaders must have faith that they will succeed, but equally as important is to have faith in the people and the organization around them. The best leaders believe in themselves, and it is critical that in order for organizations and the people associated with them to believe in these leaders, the leaders must first believe in themselves.
10. Inspiration. Leaders are always looking for new ideas and different places to find them. They are not afraid to solicit new ideas from others. Organizations constantly need new ideas to improve their services or products, and some of the best ideas are inspired by something or someone.
11. Willpower. Effective leaders know how to control their emotions and do not allow others to control their emotions or dictate their reactions. Willpower is critical for all leaders and is absolutely necessary to succeed. Life and organizations are similar in that things will almost never go as planned so be prepared.
12. Patience. Patience means that no matter what the challenge is leaders never give up. An organization and the people in it sense this and respond to it. Patience goes hand-in-hand with commitment, which means that when leaders say something, individuals do something. They take action steps, they set examples and when this is done, people and organizations respond.
It’s interesting how patience appears last on the list; however, success and effective leadership happen over time and not overnight.