Exceptional leaders possess four important qualities: self-awareness, purposefulness, understanding and authenticity. Great leaders are able to empower themselves and the people they work with through self-reflecting, creating clear intentions, recognizing their teammates unique differences and living as role models for what they expect from others.
1. They Practice Self-awareness Self-awareness is a quality that is present in almost every successful leader. For leaders to be effective, they need to be able to understand their values and understand which areas they need to improve. Leaders who are self-aware recognize their strengths and weaknesses. Acknowledging weaknesses can be uncomfortable for leaders, however, looking inwardly with introspection can lead to personal growth after initial reluctance and resistance. Leaders should be able to self-reflect and trust their own intuition.
2. They Make Clear Goals
Effective leaders are able to make intentional plans, visions and goals to accomplish. Goals can keep a leader focused, accountable, and motivated. Goals can also help a leader keep track of their progress. When leaders have plans and visions with a strong sense of purpose, they can expect their team to be more effective. A clear goal and sense of purpose can provide direction, energy and inspiration and can improve productivity and lead to overall success for leaders. When leaders make time to reflect on their intentions, they can create a clearer vision that can help them explain their goals to others and garner support.
3. They Understand Differences Among Team Members
Great leaders recognize the skills and talents of their team members. They understand that their team members have unique abilities and leaders are able to help them utilize their strengths. They also recognize that their team members will come from different backgrounds, levels of experience, and ages. Baby boomers tend to be more reserved, whereas millennials tend to be more interested in collaboration and are good with technology. Great leaders can use the different qualities, skills, and ages of their team members to foster well-being.
4. They Lead by Example
Good leaders practice what they preach and they lead by example. They are authentic in their actions and are role models to their team members. When leaders have an ethical compass that helps motivate them, they can use their skills more nobly. Effective leaders intentionally become positive examples for others. They act out what they believe and do not just speak without substance. They do not lose credibility from their actions because they have integrity. Effective leaders focus more on where their heart leads them. They take into consideration the needs of others.
Great leaders are able to focus inwards. Leaders must also pay attention to their own actions and behaviours to have a greater understanding of the reasons why they behave and react in certain ways. When leaders can take a good look at themselves and their weaknesses, they can develop and grow. The most effective leaders are observant of themselves and of others, are able to make clear goals and plans and are able to lead by example.