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There is no single way to define a great or successful leader. Leaders can be found among all types of people. A great leader might be a parent, a President, a CEO, a teacher, a child, a homeless person or a garbage handler. A leader can come from any walk of life. Most often a “successful leader” has a wealth of experience, knowledge and understanding that they apply to their own lives or to help lead their team to achieve success.
A great leader is someone who is respectful of others around them, not because they have to be, but because they want to be. A leader is an individual who has vision. Their vision is clearly communicated and as a result, is easily understood and can be followed by those whom they work with. Leaders are people who have a sense of higher purpose. They are focused on the people with whom they work as well as their desired outcome for their business.
A true leader is a person who is not driven solely by money, prestige or power, but who can see the need for every person involved to work together to make a contribution toward making the world a better place. This kind of leader is a person who can see beyond the facts in front of them, and realize it’s not just about the facts. A true leader leads with their heart. They are kind and good-hearted. They also take a genuine interest in each person they interact with, knowing there is always something to learn from everyone they meet. A great leader ins one who can see and values each person’s potential and strives to help each person around them realize their unique potential in work and life.
Visionary leaders are inspiring as they always apply their unique energy and insights along with their intelligence and many talents. They have a moral compass, clear boundaries and ethics and also expect the same from those around them. A visionary leader respects true talent in another person and welcomes their input rather than becoming threatened by it. Visionary leaders expect that everyone will bring their unique talents to their work and that each person will apply all the energy they can muster to whatever their contribution is.
Visionary leaders are usually very generous people as well. When they give themselves to a project they have passion for or to someone they deeply believe in, they don’t always expect to be paid in dollars for what they do. Sometimes the payment for them is that they’ve helped someone else achieve success or helped them to realize their lifelong dreams or contributed their creativity and energy to a cause that helps people.
Great leaders know when to laugh and often have a delightful sense of humor, yet they will never laugh at someone else’s expense. They are also able and willing to laugh at all the little absurdities they run into each day, and they will help you laugh at the ones you run into in your life as well. I love leaders who are smart, but for me, it’s not just about “book smarts” or a person’s high IQ. The best leaders I have had the privilege of working with are one’s who use their intuition to guide them through each day and every interaction, whether it be a personal or professional one.
Leaders that I respect are ones who take ownership of their past mistakes and also don’t hold other people hostage for the mistakes that they have made. They see mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow and find better ways of doing things. They know how to identify the opportunities within any moment. In addition, they not only know when to keep their mouth shut and stay still, but also when to open their mouths to voice what they see or when make a move forward.
They also know how to share the spotlight and build others up around them which means they are not attached to getting all the credit themselves for a success. They know that everything depends on the team they have assembled for any given project and that without Their Team, they would not have a business to run. Great leaders are adaptable, and understand that there are always opportunities everywhere, and they are constantly on the look out for them.
But what stands out most for me is that they value each person’s contribution around them and make sure everyone around them know how valuable they are to the total success of every project. Great leaders can give credit where credit is due and always try to build people up around them. True leaders don’t have to knock other people down in order to feel bigger themselves.
I have met all different kinds of wonderful and successful visionary leaders in my life and have also had the privilege of working with them too. But very few successful leaders have all the qualities I described above, all in one body! Each one is a human being after all and we all have our flaws and blind spots. This is what makes successful leaders so incredibly fascinating to me. They can have all kinds of different styles and qualities and at the same time, each one also has areas for growth and development.
What do you think is the art of being a successful leader? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.