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You are responsible for your destiny. Either you can follow someone, or be followed by others. The one who inspires others through their actions and influences others to follow them is a leader. Why do people follow some but not others, and what leadership traits does it take to become one?
I would like to share seven of these key traits based on my interactions with thousands of leaders, my own experiences, and findings from hundreds of books as well as research articles on the subject.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
7 Leadership Traits That Will Increase Your Impact and Influence
1.) Shared Vision
This creates a common goal with a sense of purpose for everyone. The leader shares his compelling vision with his team. Then he works with them to get their feedback, ideas, and views to create a shared goal by aligning the individual’s purpose and dream into his.
As a result, everyone is committed to achieving the same thing. There’s clarity of purpose, and each one selflessly executes tasks with utmost passion and determination.
“The greatest leaders mobilize others by coalescing people around a shared vision.” – Ken Blanchard
2.) Law of Attraction
The Law of Attraction is extremely basic, but it is highly powerful. It is consistent with the notion that ‘like attracts like’. If you have positive thoughts, you’ll likely attract positive things in life. But if you constantly doubt yourself and openly project negative thoughts, the world will give you poor results.
This law can be practiced in four easy steps:
- Write what you want (Burning Desire)
- Complete faith in the attainment of desire (Belief)
- Visualize end result twice a day.
- Achieve the result.
Most successful leaders firmly believe and practice the Law of Attraction in turning their visions into reality.
“Remember, happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what you have, it depends solely upon what you think.” — Dale Carnegie
Self-awareness means: identifying your strengths (what do you do great?), recognizing your weaknesses (what can you improve?), and evaluating your blind spots (what are you missing?).
A good leader continuously works to improve self-awareness through continuous learning. Among leadership traits, this is essential to make the right intuitive decisions in times of adversity – and to gain competitive advantage in times of prosperity.
“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.” – Daniel Goleman
4.) Continuous Learning
Regardless of formal or informal education, successful leaders are always curious to seek solutions to problems. Do this by reading or looking for active trainings about the topic that is relevant to your current situation, where you can apply what you’ve learned right away.
Continuous education improves self-awareness. Improving self-awareness goes beyond one’s own personal experiences and beliefs. It helps leaders make better decisions when opportunities and risks show up.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Social awareness is the capability to understand one’s own emotions as well as others. A leader takes others’ feelings, perspectives, and beliefs into consideration, expressing genuine care and empathy towards his followers.
The best way to improve social awareness is to practice meditation or mindfulness. Someone with good social awareness brings his or her team together, win their loyalty, and create a great environment that can do wonders.
“When you listen with empathy to another person, you give that person psychological air.” – Stephen Covey
6.) Opportunity Cost
Successful people make decisions based on their intuition and previous experience. A leader for example, will evaluate an opportunity by considering the core competencies of his or her organization while taking costs into account.
They’ll make quick decisions, having already thought of risks involved. They do this even though at times, they may not be 100 percent confident about the outcome.
Whereas others do NOT act on an opportunity for “fear of failure”, or seeking a perfect solution, leaders act on ideas before it can be too late.
“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” — Peter Drucker
7.) Strategy Execution
Successful strategy execution is saying NO to most things and focusing on very few things that matter most. This creates a sense of urgency and a culture of accountability.
Defining clear goals for every individual to align with the vision and strategy of the organization, then choosing the right people for the right jobs for flawless execution is the key to success.
“Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.” – Jim Collins, Good to Great
To summarize, a leader makes a positive impact on others by doing the right things – doing them well with high integrity, strong values, consistency, and reliability. Honing these leadership traits, you can soon inspire others to reach their full potential.