I believe that in order for us to become truly effective leaders we must first become “leaders of self.” Seasoned leaders know that leadership is a life long learning process. Over the past twenty five years, I have interviewed hundreds of leaders who all share specific traits that can be directly attributed to their success. Here are the 5 most common.
*Responsibility. Leaders must be willing to take full responsibility in every area of their life. Effective leaders do not let emotions skew their vision. They shy away from making excuses or placing blame on others. They accept full responsibility for every decision they make. Most of us are far more likely to follow a leader who is willing to take responsibility for their actions, as opposed to a person who routinely looks for someone else to blame when things don’t work out as they had planned.
*Clarity Of Purpose. Effective leaders possess laser vision and clarity. They set large goals for themselves and for the teams they lead. Effective leaders are able to present and sell their vision in a manner that creates a true spirit of cooperation. Their mantra is “better to aim high and miss, than aim low and hit.”
*Personal Development. Effective leaders understand the power of ongoing personal development. They hire personal coaches, consultants and enroll in mastermind groups that assist them in further educating, evaluating and motivating themselves. They know that when they become the smartest person in the room, it is time to change rooms!
*Master Relationship Builders. Effective leadership requires the ability to build and maintain relationships. Leaders who regularly volunteer in their communities also have an opportunity to build important “goodwill” relationships. Effective leaders are always expanding their contact data base as well as exploring networking opportunities both inside and outside of their industry. A primary objective for any effective leader is to create a wide circle of influence.
*Continuing Education. Effective leaders never stop learning. They remain on the cutting edge because they know that it will give them a competitive advantage. They value and learn from every life lesson. They APPLY this knowledge in future endeavors.
Being recognized as an effective leader is something that is EARNED over time. In order to effectively lead others we must first become a true leader of self.
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