Whether it is in the military, the workplace, or at home, I believe there to be ten characteristics that make up an effective leader.
As a small business owner, you need to understand that you are a leader, and most importantly, you have to take steps to become the best leader you can be!
Although some may say that he or she was a "born leader", I believe that statement to be false. Building leadership skills takes time, patience, and an understanding of how each individual responds when given direction.
10 characteristics that make up an effective leader
A true leader does not place himself, or herself, on a pedestal. They connect with everyone on their team.
A humble leader realizes that they are far from perfect, and are willing to accept input from everyone. No one is ignored based on the role they fill in your company or small business. They understand that they will be the one who makes the biggest mistakes, and that some of the most brilliant ideas will come from those he or she employs. They will continue to grow, and constantly search for new ways to better themselves.
2. Good Communicator
An effective communicator can influence people to accomplish the greatest tasks.
When a problem is exposed that appears to be impossible, a great communicator can rally his team, and join to formulate a solution. They can control the outcome of any situation, by conveying their thoughts in an easily understood manner that leaves little room for misinterpretation. True leaders can raise their followers up when hope starts to diminish.
They understand what it means to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. They stand tall in the face of naysayers and promote nothing but the best results. They represent their team when outsiders are looking in, and stave off any sense of personal doubt. A protective leader never resorts to bullying, or picking on the "little man."
4. Sense of Humor
A great sense of humor is an often overlooked characteristic, but one that I find to be essential. Nothing cures a bad situation like the sudden onset of genuine laughter.
They don't have a childish, or lackadaisical attitude, but an understanding that when stress gets too high, there is a need for a quick injection of humor. A good chuckle is a great way to re-kindle creativity!
One must have a healthy understanding of the difference between right and wrong. They work toward a goal that contains both substance and value. Their intentions are never to cheat, steal, or threaten the well being of others.
A proud leader takes ownership of his team's efforts. Whether the result is good or bad, they support decisions made as a group. They never point the finger, or hide in the shadows when someone is looking to enforce blame.
They embrace their role, acting as the face of a product or service. They stand tall when called to answer to their clients, investors, or customers.
7. Work Ethic
A powerful leader is willing to get dirty and move some weight. They know the difference between leading and observing.
Someone with a strong work ethic will look at deadlines as a last option, and always strive to finish projects in a timely manner. They are never above performing any job, and ensure that those closest to them are aware that the same is expected of them.
Not unlike a parent, an effective leader needs to recognize when an individual is having problems. They will be able to redirect their team when things start to move in the wrong direction.
A strong leader needs to support and encourage a group when they are faced with diversity, and not lose touch with their humanity.
"Integrity First", is the Air Force’s first core value. When placed in the position of authority, it’s easy to take advantage of that power, and succumb to selfish desires. The ability to do what is right, even when your actions are not witnessed, is what separates good leaders from great leaders!
Without an intense passion, you cannot be a leader. Even when times get tough, and morale is low, an effective leader has the ability to dig deep and reignite a dimming flame. Whether through speech or action, a passionate leader can be the difference between success and failure. They dream of a brighter future, and take action to ensure that their dream becomes reality!
We are all leaders. It's often hard to think of ourselves as filling such an important role, but your every action creates followers. When it comes to owning a small business, there are always people looking up to you. They want to see you succeed, and want to be a part of your adventure.
Just know that in every endeavor, there is a leader. You just have to ask yourself... Are you qualified?