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  • Post last modified:August 27, 2021

Everyone wants to excel in his or her career. But, becoming the best in trade is not everyone’s cup of tea. Only a few reach the zenith of success. If you want to be one of those leaders who lead by an example, try inculcating some or all of the skills mentioned in this post.

If you want to excel in your career as an amazing leader, here are some of the best qualities that you must possess. 

1. Vision

This has to be the first on the list. 

Clarity is crucial to any leader. It is the vision of the leader that ensures the direction of the organisation.

Think about how the vision of Steve Jobs propelled Apple to one of the top companies in the world. We owe the smartphone revolution and iPhone to none other than Steve Jobs and his vision. 

Think of Bill Marriott and his vision that guided Marriott’s to become the largest hotel chain in the world. Not only the largest, this hospitality group also became one the top employers and one of the most innovative companies. Not a lot of people would related innovation with hospitality but it’s the vision of Bill Marriott and his father that drove the hotel chain to this feat.

A clarity in vision is the most important aspect of goal setting.

If you want to develop this key quality to become an outstanding leader, you need to start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Does the work you are doing align with your passion?
  • Do you regularly have the support of your team and stakeholders?
  • Can you visualise your career projection with ease?
  • Do you know what you want?
  • Are you happy with what you have?

If you have answered yes to most of these questions, you are on the right track. Just back your vision and keep trying.

Otherwise, you need to rework your goal setting strategy and look to reboot your career that aligns with your passion.

2. Resilience

When it gets tough, the Tough get going.

Danish Proverb

So true is this proverb.

To be an outstanding leader, one must be ready to face challenges and get over them successfully.

Sometimes you may be knocked over by challenges but your ability to bounce back would define your character as a leader.

Resilience would establish you as a leader within your team.

To be a CEO or a top manager at a firm, you must be ready to face difficult situations with relative ease. You must be ready to tackle challenges and you must be able to find ways to bounce back. 

In short, to be an outstanding leader, you must be resilient. 

3. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence, or Emotional Quotient (EQ) as is used by most workplaces, is an ability to understand, use and manage emotions.

Managing emotions during stress, or while working with team is crucial. 

A better EQ enables leaders to empathise with other members of organisation or negotiate challenges or stressful situations better.

Thus, to be a better leader, you must be able to manage your emotions better.

There are a lot of tests available to self-assess EQ just like IQ.

A lot of research claim that EQ is something which is inborn while some claim that it can be learned and developed. This is similar to claims by a lot of research work about inborn leaders or leaders through training and experience.

The Jury is not out yet. This means that if you want to be a leader that leads by example, you must manage emotions well or have a better EQ than your competition.

4. Accountability

“Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result.”

Bob Proctor

So true is the above quote. A leader must be accountable to the outcome within an organisation.

In your firm, as a leader, you are accountable for failures or successes. More so for the failures. 

A lot of managers don’t accept failures and try to find excuses or find ways to blame others. They can never be outstanding leaders. 

A true leader is one who gives confidence to the team by taking accountability of the result- whatsoever it is. If the project fails, it’s the leader who has courage to take the blame as he/she is the one to create a vision and plan. 

Also, a true leader is one who has a heart to share success with the team.

5. Courage

Accountability is linked to this trait of a great leader.

A leader is courageous in taking decisions and accepting the outcome in strides. A true leader is also courageous in accepting mistakes.

Success in career can build ego and people at times mistake ego with courage. 

Courage is not a trait of egoist person. Courage is more an ability to stay calm amidst a stormy phase in the organisation.

Think of tall leaders across industries and from all ages. From Gautam Buddha to Martin Luther King Jr. and from Henry Ford to Larry Page – there are numerous examples where courage was personified. 

6. Integrity

“When you are able to maintain your own highest standards of Integrity- regardless of what others may do- you are destined for greatness.”

Napoleon Hill

Integrity is all about being honest with yourself. You must have some principles that you would consider are of high standards. Also, you should be committed to do what it takes to hold on to these principles.

You would meet various challenges en-route becoming a great leader. And, it would be this quality of integrity that would be your best friend during those trying times.

Be truthful to yourself first and then be honest and truthful to others. Outstanding leaders honour their moral principles throughout their lives regardless of the situation. 

7. Communication and Connection Skills

The difference between a manager and a great leader is how he or she connects with the team. 

We all know that great leaders are great at communicating. A lot of leaders are silver tongue personalities who use oral exchanges to mesmerise hundreds, thousands or even millions. 

However, it is important to understand that communication without connection is meaningless. Think of top leaders. You could easily find better communicators than them. However, the way they use their oral skills, body language and positivity to connect with their team or audience make them great leaders.

News readers and hosts would make great leaders if communication was the only criteria. 

John C Maxwell in his book of the same title has aptly mentioned-

“Everybody Communicates, few connect”.

8. Team Working skills

A great leader has team working skills. He/she knows the importance of building teams and ensuring they function properly together.

To inculcate team working skills, a leader must possess the following few qualities:

  • Active Listening
  • Flexible in approach
  • Compassionate Approach
  • Helpful
  • Not attached to personal goals
  • Be a keen learner

And so on.

9. Motivator

An outstanding leader must be a great motivator.

While team working skills are crucial but a motivated team can do wonders to a company.

A true motivator ensures all employees are attached to the common vision and mission of the company.

Driven by motivation and under the guidance of an able leader, the subordinates or followers perform their best. 

10. Positivity & Patience

We have discussed a lot of interpersonal skills here that include active listening, better communication and so on. However, to be better at interpersonal skills, you must be an extremely positive person.

Positivity must reflect in every aspect of you to be termed an outstanding leader. 

People should feel good by meeting you or being with you. Positivity is viral and it spreads and brings joy not only for oneself but also to the people around the person.

Patience is a virtue not only for an outstanding leader but for everyone.

“Rome was not built in a day” is a famous proverb we all know. Success comes through perseverance and in order to persevere without losing motivation, you need to have patience.

11. Goal focused

“Lack Of Direction, not lack of time is the problem we all have 24 hours a day”

Zig Ziglar

The best quality of top leaders, as already discussed earlier, is the clarity of vision which makes planning a lot easier. 

So, outstanding leaders can see the goals and can visualise the future. This differentiates a leader from a manager.

The below video from motivational speaker Brian Tracy sums of this  leadership quality along with 6 others.

12. Entrepreneurial / Innovative 

In the current knowledge and technology era, this one is crucial.

Innovation and creativity is a crucial tool for success for any organisation.

It is not a coincidence that a lot of top leaders across the world are also top entrepreneurs and top innovators.

To expand in this era of cut throat competition, conventional processes are no more effective. In the current startup era failure means lack of innovation. 

In order to grow and help others grow, it is thus extremely important to have an entrepreneurial approach. 

There is an overlap in the definition of a leader and definition of an entrepreneur. Both are visionary, are courageous, filled with positivity and big motivators. So, if you are a good leader, you are already an entrepreneur and vice versa (with exceptions).

Conclusion

Hope you liked this list of qualities that all outstanding leaders must have.

Some of these traits are innate and some are developed. A leader is an active learner. There are common interpersonal skills that define all tall leaders which include but are not limited to the ones mentioned in this post.

We hope this post would have added some value to your quest of becoming a better leader. Just keep learning patiently. Patience and hard work would pay off for sure. 

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