How to Become a Leader

10 Traits an Inspired Leader Must Have
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Originally Published on Apr 10, 2021 ByMarie Barnes


Leading people is not an easy task. A thousand and one responsibilities fall on your shoulders. After all, leaders are the safeguard against chaos. They are the engine of a group. What defines a great leader? An upright stance and a proud poise? Intelligence and valiance? The will of steel and steadfast determination? Often, we seek something in the leaders we lack. However, different challenges require different qualities from a chief. So, we may spend days enumerating all the possible traits a leader could have. There is no limit to perfection. Instead, we will concentrate on a specific side of a leader – his attitude towards the others.

The way you treat people makes them respond accordingly. Obviously, you can choose the path of tyranny, fear, and oppression to be an effective leader. You will force people to do things, they will obey, and technically you are a leader. But this is a slippery slope. Coup d’états and rebellions are the results of such leadership. If you want to be the one that people follow deliberately and with loyalty, you should possess the next traits. 

1. Determination

Let’s start with the obvious. You must be determined enough to get somewhere and not give up on the way. A determination is an obligatory minimum for a leader. People will not follow if you cannot move forward. They need inspiration, and you give it to them through action. 

2. Responsibility

Being a leader means you are responsible for the team. Every member of your group confides in your decision-making abilities. You cannot let them down. Your purpose is to lead them. In other words, wherever your team ends up, it is your victory or failure. You are the face of your group. When everything goes to hell, you are the first to meet the devil. If you can bear that burden, the leadership is for you.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” — John Maxwell

 

3. Genuine Empathy

Empathy is how well you can understand the emotions of others. It is the key to successful relations with anyone. If you feel what another person feels, you can better navigate through the reality of that person. Understanding their pain, you are more prone to help – it is becoming personal for you. 

There are many ways to show empathy: listen more, be attentive to others, do not judge hastily. It is not about forgetting your problems and turning into the selfless altruist to the end of your days. It is about paying attention. Just give a bit of your warmth to others along the way and try to understand them. Maybe, you can help them somehow. People remember such things, and they will respect you.

4. Positivity

Positivity is a useful tool. We all have dark moments in our lives, and unless we have a light with us, it is easy to get lost in the darkness. The moodiness stretches out, everything is dull and gloomy, and irritation takes its place. We snap at each other, but nothing resolves. Ill humor is a tricky enemy: it makes you forget about good times and joy. If you can fight that with optimism, then you have a torch to lead others through the darkness. People will seek your company to get warmer, and they will be happy to have you as their leader. 

5. Open-mindedness

You should not be close-minded, being intolerant to different people or ideas. If you cannot accept something new, alien, or better because of your personal preferences, fear, or pride, you will have problems. Times are a-changin’, as Bob Dylan sang, and so is the world. To keep up with the innumerous trends and progress, you need to get on board with it. Also, it simplifies your communication with other people as their personality does not affect your judgment.

6. Ability to Learn

This is the logical continuation of the previous paragraph. The ability to grow, adapt, and acquire new skills is a must for a leader. Learning from your mistakes is another thing. Everyone makes mistakes. Leaders do as well. However, accepting your failures and learning from them is important. Do not let ignorance take hold of you.

7. Straightforwardness

Sometimes, team members can make a mistake. Do you have it in yourself to show them their fault? Can you reprimand or fire someone if the need arises? You are responsible for your team, remember? If someone jeopardizes its future, you must deal with this person. You cannot play only a good cop here. 

8. Humility

Can you bide your mistakes? Can you ask for help from your fellow team member? Your ego and pride should not stand in your way. You are not some infallible machine that should perform flawlessly. You cannot know everything. A team works as one, and you are a part of it – ask for advice or support when needed.

 

9. Approachability

Other team members should not fear coming up to you. If they are afraid of reaching out, you have a lack of trust. It might lead to secrets and unspoken words. Secrets are bombs with a long fuse, of which you do not know. To avoid that, you need to establish an open-door policy. Work on your relationship with the team: your leadership depends on it. 

“The price of greatness is responsibility.” – Winston Churchill

10. Self-care

The final point is all about yourself. To be the most effective, you should care about your well-being. Your physical and mental health are the fuel of your energy. You cannot be optimistic, think a few steps ahead, make decisions, and be an inspiring example for others when your mind and soul are in the wrong place. 

We often tend to forget about the need for rest and recreation, joy and happiness while pursuing our professional growth. There should be enough sunlight and alimentation for a plant to grow. There should also be enough good things for you to live on and succeed. 

Congratulations, if you have all those traits within yourself. You should be good at leading others. If there is something you lack, do not get upset – everything can be learned and practiced to perfection. Look it up on the internet. You can find all the answers there. 

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Marie Barnes

Marie Barnes is a Marketing Communication Manager at Adsy and an enthusiastic blogger interested in writing about technology, social media, work, travel, lifestyle, and current affairs. She shares her insights through blogging. Follow her on Medium.

Related:

Leadership Traits – List of Top Qualities of an Effective Leader (corporatefinanceinstitute.com)

 


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