7 Qualities That Distinguish Genuine Leaders From Bossy Poseurs
Being a successful entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily make you a successful leader. A truly great leader understands the many different factors that come with leading others and strives to help others reach their goals. Leaders are always developing themselves and act as visionaries for their organization.
Great leaders inspire and enable their team to do their best possible work. That’s a tall order, but as a leader, you must be up to the challenge.
There are many different leadership styles, however, all leaders share seven basic traits:
The value of integrity as a foundational leadership virtue is inestimable. When you say what you mean and mean what you say, people will trust you implicitly and generally respond in kind. As a leader, it’s important to raise the bar high by personally modeling a standard of truthfulness that demonstrates your deepest morals and values mirror your company’s mission.
People want to work with leaders who truly care about the work they’re doing and wholeheartedly believe they are making a positive difference in the world. You must lead by example and obtain management skills that inspire others to join you in building a great company. Entrepreneurs who exemplify this vision in their day-to-day work lives convey that excitement to those with whom they work, who in turn draw energy from their commitment. Your job is to maintain a happy work environment and continue leading your team with passion and enthusiasm.
Leaders take full responsibility for their actions, as well as the performance of those they supervise. They foster an all-for-one-and-one-for-all atmosphere that recognizes every team member’s contributions and provides a strong mutual support system. Leaders lead by example, keeping their word and ensuring that everyone has the resources they need to be their best.
Great leaders get to know their team members and well, and by doing so, they know who does what best, and trust their employees to do the job right. Micromanagers, on the other hand, are the opposite of leaders because they babysit and spend their time checking every detail rather than looking at the big picture. Learn everyone’s particular skills so you can leverage those strengths to benefit your business, freeing yourself to focus on the vision that will take your company to the next level.
“If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” is a woefully outdated concept. In the twenty-first-century-world of rapid technological and marketplace evolution, you’ll fall behind if you’re not moving forward. The new mantra is constant improvement of your products or services. As an entrepreneur, your decisions will make or break your company. Demonstrate creativity and solicit ideas from your team who can also bring their brilliant ideas to the table.
Leaders are visionaries, and your job as an entrepreneur is to bring your vision to life. It’s one thing to hold that vision in your head, yet no matter how clear it may be to you, your idea won’t become reality unless you clearly express it to those whose can help you make that wish come true. Meet regularly and give everyone with whom you work clear instructions. Praise and reward them whenever they meet and exceed your expectations.
The point of being a leader is not to be at the top of the pyramid or totem pole. Rather, it is to create a successful company that improves people’s lives. Egotistical bosses who regard their employees as interchangeable machine cogs don’t change the world. Strive to be empathetic and treat your coworkers and colleagues the way you want to be treated. Value and respect them, and in turn, they will respect you.
Great leaders are made, not born. They become extraordinary through hard work, determination and courage, along with a sprinkling of these common traits. Think of yourself as a leader, then act as one, and your boundaries are limitless.
Related: 11 Ways to Earn Respect at Work
Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. She is the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011) and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin's Press, 2005).