Leadership is not an exclusive concept to be learned. It is an inclusive idea to be imbibed.
Sometimes, people want to learn about leadership but are not ready to be leaders. They are enamored by the concept of being a leader. But when it comes to being, it feels outside of their comfort zone. One can’t be a leader because one wants to feel powerful and call shots for others. One can at best, become a manager. However, you automatically become a leader if your attention is compassionately on others and their well-being. After working with several leaders who have been inspirational, here are some of the common traits that I have seen in of them.
- Leaders are constantly ready to step outside of their comfort zone. They are ready to be there for others. They aren’t scared of making mistakes because they are ever ready to learn. They are humble to apologise. The rest who aren’t able to become leaders are usually once bitten, twice shy. They feel bitter about past experiences and are too scared to make further mistakes. So, they tend to play it safe. They pay more emphasis on their projection than being face to face with reality.
- A leader thinks of what’s in it for everyone. They think of win-win at all times. A wise person once said, give anything to a person for free twice, and you’ll know their true nature. Leaders naturally have it in them to make sure that others win along with them. Whether it is services, goods, or help, they wouldn’t claim free rights even if they are offered. If they need it, they ensure they adequately compensate the other person for it in due course. If they can’t compensate for the other person’s time and efforts, they don’t avail it in the first place.
- Leaders are resilient and flexible. They aren’t afraid to try new ideas. They are open to listening to new ideas with great curiosity. People who lack leadership capabilities are resistant to change. They are often convinced of their own thoughts and ways of being that they find it hard to consider alternative viewpoints.
- Leaders don’t prove others wrong. They express their points of view in ways that are respectful. Not forceful. And their attention is on the point at hand and the effect of it. Not about proving or disproving ego states. Hence, people are often more agreeable with true leaders because they are aware of the finer nuances of addressing conflicts or differences in points of view with respect and due consideration to all parties concerned.
- Leaders are humbly confident. This, by far, is a brilliant combination. Most people are either confident or humble. But leaders are humbly confident, and that’s what makes their personality so endearing. Which means they don’t make their life and conversations all about them. They don’t give their ego too much importance. At the same time, they are confident in their skills and capabilities without letting it hit their head. They have big-picture thinking. So, life’s not all about what they think, what they need, what they can do, what people did to them, what they achieved, and what happened to them. But what’s the need of the hour, what needs to be done, and how can they get it done.
- Leaders are good listeners. Listening without interruptions and without judgment is a key skill that great leaders have. When people enter their room, they leave feeling heard not judged. They aren’t quick to give suggestions. Instead, they help people arrive at their own answers. They believe in empowering others rather than making them dependent. They don’t believe in hearing their own voice or telling their own stories all the time. They give others a great chance to speak and demonstrate a beautiful capacity to make people feel listened to and understood.
- Leaders remember. They don’t need reminders. They remember people. Acknowledge people of all statures and greet them with the same warmth. They get back on tasks without waiting for reminders for the most part. They know what is due from their end by when. If we can’t organise our own lives, how could we help others? Hence, great leaders are usually ahead of the game.
- Whether the lights are on or off, a leader is who he/she is. They are balanced in their approach not just in one platform but across different situations in their life. Being authentic and trustworthy is key.
- The most important aspect is leaders take responsibility. They don’t throw others under the bus. They also don’t play the victim rolein life. They learn from whatever happens in life without feeling sorry for themselves or without feeling a sense of entitlement that others owe them something because of all that they went through.
- Leaders recognise the goodness and strengths of others. They celebrate excellence without feeling threatened or intimidated. They understand they there’s enough room for everyone to freely exist and grow with their respective talents. They enable people to emerge and excel with their own talents.
- Great leaders also know when, how much, and how to express themselves. They express themselves with ease and charm. There’s a sense of genuineness in them. Hence, they are able to freely express their thoughts and feelings with elegance. Leaders don’t brush aside emotions. They understand the value of emotions and hence acknowledge, address, and appeal to the emotions of people around them. Emotions are the essence of humans – regardless of race, origin, and creed. If you try to overlook this aspect, you are overlooking the most critical and influential aspect of humans. And hence, you may not ever be able to have a great influence on them. Great leaders are aware of this.
- Leaders are good at giving critical feedback in a constructive manner. Their idea is not to make a person feel bad about themselves but enable them to be better versions of themselves by connecting with their outcomes in life. Some of us state critical feedback because we are annoyed with them. So, we mostly vomit! Leaders speak! They critique healthily to enable learning. Not to vent out their frustrations on others.
- Leaders are visionaries. They can think ahead and see what others can’t. Their actions are not just based on the need for the day but also a view for the future which involves the larger good of others.
- Leaders don’t wait to be taught. They grab every opportunity to learn and implement. And a leader is not just limited to a role in an organisational set-up. Your mother could be a leader, your child could be a leader, the watchman at the gate could be a leader in his own right. A leader is anyone who doesn’t back down and seek personal comfort in challenging times. Rather, chooses to rise to the occasion and march forward doing what is necessary for any situation. A leader is a constant learner. Learning, not for the sake of showing off but the skill but to implement the needful.