Monday, March 8, 2010

Traits of a Successful Leader

A leader takes people where they want to go.  A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go but ought to be.  --Rosalynn Carter

Some believe that great leaders are born, while others insist that leadership is an art that can be learned.  Fortunately, whichever you believe will probably end up being true for your own personal situation.  Why?  Because the number one trait of a successful leader is to believe in yourself. 

You must believe in yourself, because leadership is often a lonely affair.  Not because you won't be well liked or respected, but simply because a true leader is constantly aware of exactly what they believe in, how they intend to carry things out, and what they will and won't do to get where they want to arrive.  This often goes against the grain of the majority, but that's okay.  Today's women's business networking circles are in desperate need of more passionate leaders.  All it takes in the beginning is a "burning desire" to see an action or a change takes place. 

Following, is a list of specific traits that define true leadership.  If you don't presently display there traits, that's okay--develop them.  Leadership traits will help you in every area of your life, from parenthood to business.

Self Belief

As I mentioned above, this is the first and most important trait.  You'll never have the courage to take that first step if you don't believe in yourself. 

Self belief does not include pride or arrogance.  In fact, if you truly know who you are and are confident in yourself, you are more apt to serve others than to talk about your own self-worth.  You see, a leader doesn't have to convince anyone who they believe that they are. 

A Servant's Heart

Tyrants are selfISH while leaders are selfLESS.  A true leader has the best intentions for the team as a whole.  A leader does not have a "what's in it for me" attitude.  In fact, most of the leader's frustration comes from the fact that they have a clear picture of what is most beneficial for the group as a whole, but is often misunderstood or ignored. 

A Clear Vision

It is awfully difficult to get others to go somewhere if you don't have a clear vision of where you are going.  A leader has concrete goals, both long and short term.  The long term goal is the place you desire to arrive and the short term goals are the stepping stones to getting there. 

Again, the end result here is for the good of the team as a whole.  The end results of the vision will benefit everyone. 

Lead By Example

Leaders are often demanding; requiring excellence from their team.  A leader has the ability to recognize the problem areas and is constantly striving to find a better way of accomplishing goals.  The beauty of it all is that a successful leader will never ask of another what they are unwilling to do themselves.  Leading by example is extremely effective.  If you are a leader, take your team where they need to be by rolling up your sleeves and getting right in there with them.

Open and Teachable

Does a leader know everything?  Of course not.  But they do know how to surround themselves with successful people who can help them accomplish their goals.  A leader is confident of their abilities and the direction they are going, but also quick to admit their mistakes and to seek counsel when necessary.  Basically, a leader is not prideful.  They have a clear view of who they are and what they can or can not accomplish in their own strength. 

These are just a few of the many qualities of a successful leader.  As you continue to network with our group of SW Florida business women, you will become more grounded and established in your own leadership skills.  Believe in yourself, be ready to stand for what you believe in, and have a solid plan of action.  You may make some mistakes, but if you are willing to learn from them and move on, you will experience success in all areas of your life. 

Be sure to continue to network with business owners and bring your positive attitude to Empowered Network meetings and group functions.  You will continue to grow with every new experience.