What Does It Take to Be a Great Leader?
John Quincy Adams once said – If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and became more, you are a leader
Mr. John Quincy Adams (who was the sixth President of the United States) has been portrayed by recent historians as a perfect example of a moral leader.
From his quote above, he implies that a leader must INSPIRE others … and if I’m to break it down further, I would say…
As a LEADER, people would follow you willingly and do as you instruct them only if you inspire them. On the contrary, as a BOSS, people will follow you and do as you command them if they fear you.
Now, ask yourself this question – Are you a BOSS or a LEADER? Let’s look at the difference between the two.
LEADER vs BOSS | THE DIFFERENCE
The difference between a boss and a leader: a boss says, ‘Go!’ – a leader says, ‘Let’s go!’ – E.M. Kelly.
The leader leads and develops people while the boss drives and uses people. The leader influences and inspires enthusiasm while the boss inspires fear. This illustration below summarizes the difference between the boss and a leader.
Now that we’ve differentiated between a LEADER and a BOSS, let’s talk about the importance of being a great leader.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING A GREAT LEADER
People generally need leadership – we all need someone to show us direction; someone to motivate and inspire us to achieve and perform at our best. Rather than giving out orders or commanding people to do as you want (i.e. being a boss), people will be more willing to do something when you give them a “reason” to put their hearts and mind into that; by leading by example, rather than just power.
It pays more to become a great leader rather than a great boss. Let’s now look at some of the qualities that most great leaders possess. Follow these rules in order to become a great leader.
10 THINGS YOU MUST DO IF YOU WANT TO BECOME A GREAT LEADER
1. Communicate Effectively At All Times. But always listen to your team
This is the first and a key quality of all great leaders. Great leaders are expert communicators and great communicators tend to be excellent leaders. It goes both ways. You should ensure you communicate effectively. When you speak, be clear in your communication.
In addition to this, give your full attention to your team when they are communicating with you, even if they are wrong.
2. Be Confident (Not Arrogant). Be Humble.
Lack of confidence translates to weakness. Be confident, but be humble. From the way you speak to the way you carry yourself, everything about you must exude confidence. When you are confident, people believe you know so much and will depend on you to guide and lead them. They will respect you and trust you more.
Not sure how to boost your confidence? Check out our guide below:
A Must Read: 4 Powerful Ways To Boost Your Confidence
3. Talk Less. Listen more.
The more you talk, the less you say. The less you say, the more weight your words would carry. Great leaders only speak when they have something useful to offer. When you talk too much, your decision-making capabilities are compromised. By talking less, you have more time to listen and think.
- Stop interrupting conversations. Wait for the person or people you are talking with to invite you to say more.
- Never assume you understand what the other party is saying when you are not sure. Always ask questions before making suggestions.
4. Be Ambitious. Be Passionate.
Great leaders have a good dose of true ambition – the desire for personal achievement. You should know where you are headed and always show a strong desire and determination to succeed.
You need to be passionate about your work, else you would never be satisfied with what you do. And if you are not satisfied with what you do, how can you lead others. If you are not passionate about your work or don’t have fun doing what you do, you are not in the right place. You should leave.
5. Be an Expert in your field.
When you are passionate about your work, you need to become an expert in that field. There is nothing wrong with saying “I don’t know” when a question is thrown at you, however, you must go search for answers afterward through research.
You should never stop learning, always educate yourself frequently through personal studies and training so you can take charge fully. If you don’t do this, you give room for someone else (who is more experienced than you) to step in and take your place.
6. Inspire others. Lead by Example.
Inspiring others is the mark of a great leader. You need to constantly motivate your team through motivational talks, examples, and guidance. Lead by example by being the type of person you want your team members to become.
7. Be firm in your decisions. However, be kind.
Be firm in your decisions. Learn to think fast, research everything and make quick decisions. Once you’ve made your decision do not waver.
Be kind to everyone but don’t become “too friendly” by having a personal relationship or playing favorite with any member of your team.
8. Treat your team well.
Identify the strong points and the weak points of each member of your team. If anyone needs training in a particular area that will enhance his or her soft or technical skills, do what you can to have the team member attend the training.
When you record a milestone in your success story, you should celebrate with your team. An idea is to buy Pizza and drinks for every one of them and celebrate with them. This will encourage them to continue working hard to achieve more.
8. Carry your Team Along. Give them feedback frequently.
You need to constantly have discussions with your team so you can communicate to them your vision: where they are going, the progress made so far in the journey and what is left to finish the journey. Carry them along at all times.
You are also supposed to give them feedback on what they are doing wrong or right and what needs further improvement. Remember, they depend solely on you to guide them and to teach them what they don’t know.
By so doing, they are motivated to keep going with full determination to succeed and achieve a common goal – your vision.
10. Dress for Success. Dress like a leader to be treated like a leader.
Part of being a great leader is also dressing the part. If you want to be taken seriously as a leader, you should endeavor to dress the part. People will take you more seriously if you dress appropriately. Therefore, dress for success.
The truth is you can’t become a great leader overnight. It requires a lot of hard work, consistency, and practice. Sometimes, you could find yourself not always following these rules, don’t give up. You just need to keep going and through your experiences and constant practice, you will eventually get there.
Thanks for stopping by, I believe you’ve enjoyed reading the article. Be sure to stay glued to this blog as we continuously inspire you to live a fulfilling and classy life.
Until next time gentlemen – Continue to Do Well, Live Well and Dress Really Well. Be a leader…Not a boss!
Yours in Style,
Kobi O. Mbagwu (Mr. Kobi)
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