Are great leaders born or made? It’s an age-old question, and evidence exists to support both sides.
Many leaders have qualities that seem innate, as Forbes notes. Confidence, a positive attitude, intelligence, exceptional communication skills, a sense of humor — these are typically characteristics inherent to an individual’s personality.
Sure, some leaders are simply smarter or luckier than other people. But it seems that in most cases, leaders have to work at setting an example that others want to follow. They do so by engaging in a number of positive behaviors.
Leaders don’t quit the first time something doesn’t go their way. They keep at it, and most enjoy the journey almost as much as the destination. They know there’s a lot of valuable information to be gleaned and skills to be mastered along the way.
Not everyone is born with an assertive personality. But leaders learn to keep going despite having doors slammed in their faces — sometimes literally. They overcome passivity and keep pushing until they achieve their goals.
They work hard and invest in themselves
The image of the CEO who spends her days out on the golf course is a myth. Most leaders — and most successful people in general — work extremely hard, putting in many more hours than average people.
Time off? You won’t find leaders slumped on the couch catching the latest reality show. More than likely, they’ll be bettering themselves or helping others, whether it’s reading books related to their fields, keeping their bodies healthy or volunteering in the community.
Individuals in leadership roles never feel that they’re done with their own educations. They always want to grow and improve, and they invest significant time in learning new things, refining their skills or finding new ways in which to stretch their abilities. They consider themselves a project that’s never finished.
They learn from mistakes
When average people make mistakes, they get down on themselves. Often, the negative voices in their heads prevail, and they stop trying altogether. For leaders, mistakes aren’t the end of the world. In fact, they’re opportunities to learn and improve.
Without people willing to keep trying despite making mistakes, there would be no progress in the world. And without mistakes, there is no learning. Leaders know there’s significant truth in the old adage: Practice makes perfect.
They set goals
Leaders don’t fly blind. They create plans and set goals.
Goals create a framework for tangible action to meet larger objectives. Whether it’s increasing a company’s sales or rolling out a new product, goals serve as a road map toward success. The simple practice of creating goals gets team members on the same page and provides benchmarks for measuring performance. Goal-setting also fuels motivation as everyone moves in the same direction.
They don’t give in to failure
Did you know that before he became one of the best-known scientists in history, Albert Einstein was somewhat of a failure? In college, a professor derided him as lazy, and he was forced to take an entry-level job in government after graduation. Fortunately, young Albert didn’t let his early fits and starts deter him, and he went on to great things.
Great leaders don’t give up, and they don’t listen when people call them failures. They get right back up and keep going.
They build support systems
No one can do everything on their own. Even the best and brightest need help sometimes. Great leaders know this, and they surround themselves with friends and colleagues who can help them improve and continue achieving their goals. They stay away from toxic, negative people, instead spending their time with smart, positive people who are determined to be successful.
They have a spirit of service
Leaders help other develop their talents and skills. They’re generous with their time and often can be found mentoring young people. They act as role models, and they’re conscious of the ways in which they can serve others.
What makes a highly effective leader?
Viewed from afar, leaders can seem almost superhuman. Brilliant ideas seem to flow effortlessly, and everything they touch seems to turn to gold. The truth is that for most, learned and practiced habits make the difference between mediocrity and greatness. Persistence, setting goals, rebounding from failure and serving others build the character that makes a true leader.
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/247518?ctp=BizDev&src=Syndication&msc=Feedly, http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/7-ways-that-great-leader-thinks-differently.html, http://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyaprive/2012/12/19/top-10-qualities-that-make-a-great-leader/, http://www.forbes.com/sites/zalmiduchman/2015/04/24/how-i-discovered-the-importance-of-persistence-and-learned-to-annoy-the-heck-out-of-everyone/, http://smallbusiness.chron.com/importance-motivation-goal-setting-businesses-2506.html, http://www.creativitypost.com/psychology/famous_failures