Identifying the characteristics of a truly great leader can be a difficult task. There is often a broad range of traits that real leaders possess, and some of these traits may or may not be shared among all leaders in general. However, some characteristics are expected (and necessary) in leadership positions, and they are described in the sections that follow.
Excellent Communication Skills
Real leaders can effectively communicate with diverse groups of people, including those of varying ages, genders, races, and cultures. They are also able to communicate in a broad range of settings and situations.
Clear Visions for Success
Another characteristic that is common among great leaders is that they possess a vision for success. Good leaders know where they want to go and the best ways to get there. They are also able to motivate their followers and direct them in such a way as to turn their visions for success into realities.
Ability to Form Strong Relationships with Followers
Followers are most often more apt to respect leaders who care about what happens to others and whose visions are aimed at the good of the institution or community rather than themselves. Because of this, leaders need to form close relationships with their followers.
Appreciative of Followers’ Work
Leaders who are grateful for their followers’ contributions and work and who show their appreciation to their followers are typically the most successful. Saying thank you often and rewarding outstanding contributions can mean the difference between a standard leader and a great one.
Good Listening Skills
Just as excellent communication skills are essential to becoming a real leader, good listening skills are equally essential. It is often a follower who comes up with a fantastic idea to help a group reach the leader’s vision. Leaders who do not listen to their followers can miss out on these great ideas.
Great leaders possess a large variety of personalities and leadership styles. However, real leaders who can truly succeed in their endeavors also have several common characteristics, such as those described above.