Top Traits that Leaders Possess
There’s a whole host of traits and characteristics leaders should possess, however, we’ll take a closer look at those that set the exceptional leaders apart from the average ones.
Humility is their middle name
We all have that one friend who never seems to stop (humble) bragging. Let’s be honest here: Do you feel inspired by them or rather disconnected from, perhaps even slightly irritated by them? The chances are the negative emotions outweigh the positive ones and you just want to shut that person up.
Great leaders, on the other hand, make people feel connected to them and align them to their vision by exhibiting humility. Indeed, the superior leaders are modest in their speech but exceed in their actions. Since their actions truly speak for themselves, they don’t feel the need to prove to everyone around that they’re good.
Instead, they present themselves as equal to everyone else and have the confidence to recognize accomplishments of others without feeling threatened. This creates a sense of community and togetherness. You could have even noticed that influential leaders often use self-deprecating humour and don’t seem to take themselves too seriously.
Blowing your own horn is an incredibly off-putting trait which leads to dissociation and people won’t be drawn to follow you because they’ll feel like they’re somewhat inferior to you (and they’ll also think you’re an asshole).
They have unwavering confidence in a vision greater than themselves
This one is a no-brainer, but a very important one. How are people supposed to believe in your vision if you don’t believe in it yourself?
Top leaders always see the bigger picture and they’re so enthralled by their strategic vision that they don’t have second thoughts about whether it’s worth following.
It’s actually the powerful idea leaders are so obsessed with that makes great leaders rather than the leaders themselves. It’s all about ideas; leaders act more like messengers and their job is to get their followers to buy into that grand vision and bring it to its fruitful realization.
They’re grateful to be supported by talented individuals who help them realise their vision
They’re very aware of the fact that without their followers their vision would be just a bunch of empty words and therefore they don’t take anyone’s efforts for granted.
Also, the best leaders have the rare ability to make their vision appeal to their followers’ self-interest.
A so-called servant leader shares power, puts the interests of others first and helps people become their best selves.
They’re good listeners and see potential in everyone
Great leaders don’t just pretend they’re listening, they really are listening. Paying true attention to others’ comments, ideas and feelings makes them very adept at noticing peoples’ talents and character traits and then drawing out their maximum potential.
They’re perceptive enough to see beyond the person’s façade and understand that each of us possesses their own unique blend of expertise and experience that can be brought to the table. Welcoming diversity in people and treating everyone equally is a matter of course. They make people feel that they, too, can become great. Even new leaders are born in their presence.
Their own failures are what makes them, not what breaks them
Exceptional leaders handle failures a bit differently. When most people fail spectacularly at something, they have a tendency to allow the failure to make them fall apart, give up on their aspirations and retreat to the hall of shame, so to speak.
Although it doesn’t have to be apparent at first, leaders have a fairly high rate of failures. Because, let’s face it, someone who never made a mistake most likely never tried anything new or really worthwhile. And leaders do plenty of stuff that is new or really worthwhile.
What sets them apart from others is that they have the inner strength and courage to embrace their vulnerability. They know that their past failures don’t define them as a person, they happened so they could learn from them and become better versions of themselves.
And they have the courage to openly admit all of this, admit that they’re not perfect.
As you can guess, being vulnerable in front of others requires a pretty high degree of emotional intelligence and a growth mindset.
This serves as a great behavioral model to others, who come to realize that absolutely everyone is vulnerable to mistakes and there’s always room to learn, grow and improve.
Vulnerable leaders are able to see other people as very complex beings, full of infinite possibilities… Or, more practically speaking, they can spot the difference between an error on the job and actual character flaws. Because, as mentioned above, they know that past failures don’t define us.
Katarina Matiasovska writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect internship. To browse our graduate jobs London listings, visit our website.
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