A good leader needs quite a few characteristics in order to be successful. Whether you’re leading a business or a government, the principles are the same. Here’s a look at ten absolutely essential traits for a good leader to have.
1. Discipline. First and foremost, a leader knows when to act. He or she’s able to get up and get things moving. This requires a good amount of discipline. Without this trait, a leader won’t ever do more than just suggest change. It’s important to actually enact it.
2. Forethought. Forethought is important to ensure good use of resources. If you can’t think ahead, you’ve got no business leading people. Leaders should always practice thinking a few steps ahead to build any advantage they can get.
3. Realism. It’s great to be idealistic. In fact, it’s important for every leader to think about the best case scenario. However, you’ve also got to plan on setbacks. It’s crucial to be able to realize when something simply isn’t going to work or when the resources just aren’t there.
4. Trust. It’s important for a leader to trust the people he‘s leading to handle certain things. Otherwise, you’ll end up micromanaging. This is bad for efficiency, and prevents things from happening. Learn to trust people to get things done. When they see that trust, they’ll be empowered and grateful for an opportunity to show initiative.
5. Patience. When a leader delegates a responsibility and someone makes a mistake, it’s important not to overreact. An overreaction undermines authority and makes any leader in business or politics seem petty. This is especially true with honest mistakes, where nobody’s really at fault.
6. Charisma. Of course, to get anybody to follow you in the first place, charisma’s an important trait. There are quite a few different types of charisma. The kind you need for business is very different than what you’d need for politics. Finding and developing the right type of charisma can be hugely helpful.
7. Humility. To lead, you’ve got to realize that you’re not perfect. Otherwise, you’ll get rocked with that realization again and again. A good grounded personality is the mark of a well rounded person that understands when he can’t do things by himself.
8. Empathy. In any pursuit, being empathetic can mean the difference between working with someone and working against them. Leaders who can empathize can convince others to help them, and know when their actions are causing more harm than good.
9. Humor. Good leaders laugh at themselves and inspire laughter. A sense of humor helps to relieve stress within an organization, and can lead to much harder (and more fun) work.
10. Faith. Not religious faith, but faith in people. Make sure to keep in mind that you can’t always know everything. Keeping faith that the people you’re leading will help you out along the way is absolutely essential. Without this kind of faith, you can’t lead well for very long.
What traits do you think a leader needs? Are there any on this list that you disagree with? Post in the comments below.