During my time in the military, I worked for some awesome commanders, and some that didn’t have what it took to fill such an important role.
Whether it be in the military, the workplace, or at home, there are 10 characteristics that make up any effective leader.
As a small business owner, you need to understand that you are indeed a leader. And most importantly you have to take steps to becoming the best leader you can be!
Although some say that he/she was a “born leader”, I believe that statement to be false. Some people possess great leadership abilities, but until you have the opportunity to prove yourself when it counts, no person comes out of the womb ready to take people to that next level or guide them into battle.
Building leadership skills takes time, patience, and an understanding of how each individual responds when given directions.
The following 10 characteristics are what I believe make up a capable leader.
A real leader does not place him, or herself, on a pedestal. They connect with everyone on their team. A humble leader realizes that they are far from perfect, and are willing to accept inputs from everyone. No one is ignored based on the role they fill in your company. They understand that they will make some of the biggest mistakes, and that some of the most brilliant ideas will come from those he/she employs. They will continue to grow, and constantly search for new ways to better themselves.
2) Good Communicator
An effective communicator can influence people to create magic. When a problem is exposed that appears unsolvable, a great communicator can rally his team, and come up with a solution. She can control the outcome of any situation, by conveying her thoughts in an easily understood manner that leaves little room for misinterpretation. They can motivate people to move mountains, and raise them up when hope starts to diminish.
They understand what it means to defend those that can’t defend themselves. They stand tall in the face of naysayers, and promote nothing but the best results. They represent their team when outsiders look in, and stave off any sense of doubt. A protective leader never resorts to bullying, or picking on the “little man.”
4) Sense of Humor
An often overlooked characteristic, but one that I find to be essential. Nothing cures a bad situation like a sudden onset of genuine laughter. They don’t have a childish, or lackadaisical attitude, but an understanding that when stress gets too high, there is a need for a quick injection of humor. It allows their team to realize everything will be OK, and a good chuckle is a great way to re-kindle creativity.
A healthy understanding of right & wrong. They work towards something with substance and value. Their intentions are never to cheat, steal, or threaten the well being of others.
A proud leader takes ownership of his team efforts. Whether the result is good or bad, they support decisions made as a group. They never point the finger, or hide in the shadows when someone is looking to enforce blame. They embrace their role as the face of a product or service, and stand tall when they are called to answer to their clients, investors, or customers.
7) Work Ethic
A powerful leader is willing to get dirty and move some weight. They know the difference between leading and observing. Someone with a strong work ethic will look at deadlines as a last option, and always strive to finish projects in a timely manner. They are never above performing any job, and ensure that those closest to them are aware that the same is expected of them.
Not unlike a parent, an effective leader needs to recognize when an individual is having problems. They will be able to redirect their team when things start to move in the wrong direction. A strong leader needs to support and encourage a group when they are faced with diversity, and not lose touch with their humanity.
A leader must do what is right when nobody is looking.
Without intense passion, you can not be a leader. Even when times get tough, and morale is low, an effective leader has the ability to dig deep, and reignite a dimming flame. Whether through speech, or action, a passionate leader can be the difference between success and failure. They dream of a brighter future, and take action to ensure that dream becomes reality!
We are all leaders.
It’s often hard to think of ourselves as filling such an important role, but your every action builds followers.
When it comes to owning a small business, and even if you don’t employ anyone, there are people looking up to you. There are people who want to see you succeed, and want to be a part of your adventure.
Just know that in every endeavor, there is a leader.
You just have to ask yourself…
is that leader you?
This post was a little different from my normal writing, but I felt a strong need to discuss leadership.
In order to be successful, you have to define a leadership role, and you have to be willing to acknowledge that the leader may not be you.
Don’t ever put yourself in a position of authority just because something was your idea. Be proud of your creation, but hand the reins over to someone that’s better equipped to move forward.
Just know that you can work on becoming a stronger leader.
It is definitely not a skill absorbed at birth.
It just takes work.
Good luck in your future endeavors.
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photo credit: Yug_and_her via photo pin cc