Watching charismatic leaders at work can make one wonder whether such leaders are natural born leaders or if there is a secret formula to be learned to being an effective leader. While there aren’t any real secrets to being an effective leader, there are, however, capabilities that differentiate a great leader from an average leader. These capabilities mixed with experience, hard work, resiliency and a little bit of luck can make a unique and powerful leader.
Perhaps you know some people who have hit their leader stride early in their careers while others find their path a little later in life. It’s also likely that you know people who just simply never seem to get their leadership footing. The differences in these leadership levels are often character related. Here are a few of the characteristics that differentiate average leaders from great leaders.
They find purpose
There is a distinct difference between a leader who just shows up for work and a leader that has a defined purpose. When a leader’s sense of purpose at work stems from their internal sense of purpose in life they operate with passion. Purpose fuels passion, and this gives great leaders the competitive advantage. When the leader’s passion aligns with their vision and shared values, people want to follow their lead.
They’re not driven by profit
Business leaders are measured by the profit they make. However, true leadership is more than focusing on money at all costs. For a great leader profit does not drive purpose, but instead, purpose drives profit. Leaders who are profit driven may find themselves successful for a season or two, but sooner or later the call to make more money is no longer inspiring to their troops and their leadership begins to falter. A great leader builds a long term strategy for the vision and keeps reminding her troops about the bigger purpose so that they never forget why they are in business.
They put people first
Without people, there is no need for a leader and all great leaders know that your people will either make you or break you. An average leader might see their people as capital to be leveraged, viewing themselves as superior. A great leader knows that people follow leaders they admire and respect. Leaders will only receive admiration and respect if they show admiration and respect to his/her people first by listening, encouraging, coaching and rewarding them.
You may know someone in a leadership role who comes across as the person who knows everything, but don’t be fooled. The only person they’re fooling is themselves. If you look around you’ll notice that a great leader is someone who is self-aware of not only themselves, but also their impact on others. They value sensitivity, humility, listening, learning and engaging with those around them. They are not challenged by the opinions and feedback of others but curious and stay open for learning. While people view average leaders as business executives, they see great leaders as notable human beings. A great leader knows that performance is not built on the backs of others, but instead, comes from helping others become successful.
Article Author: Kristiina Hiukka is a Seattle-based professional leadership consultant, coach and trainer. She works with CEO’s who are ready to invest in women leaders in their companies. She specializes in up and coming CFO’s, CEO’s, and Management Teams. She believes in creating positivity driven performance cultures. She grooms leaders and facilitates teams at small companies as well as global organizations such as Microsoft, Nokia, and the American Red Cross. She founded Women in Innovation, a community and summit that convenes women leaders with Big Ideas. A native of Finland, Kristiina serves as Honorary Vice Consul of Finland for the State of Washington. Kristiina speaks on a variety of leadership topics connected to her passions: Leadership, Innovation, Collaboration, Communication, and Gender Intelligence kristiinahiukka.com. To get tips on Leading Smart and becoming the most effective leader in life and business Click Here
Be Smart About Your Leadership Intelligence – Kristiina Hiukka
The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes & Posner, fifth edition.
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