By Rene Pfaff
To be a good leader, you must have a basic knowledge and leadership skills and apply them successfully. However, to be an excellent leader you need to reflect certain leadership dimensions in your everyday actions and behaviour. The good news is that you can acquire and perfect these dimensions to fully exploit your potential as a leader in your business, community or family.
Are you ready to be an excellent leader?
Many people fill leadership positions in their organisations, communities or families. The question is what qualities or dimensions a person should have to be regarded as a good leader and how he could acquire these qualities?
Over the centuries many books have been written about leadership in which the qualities of a good leader are discussed. Of course there are a lot of technical knowledge and skills that can help a person in this role. From our experience, however, it is clear that successful leaders everywhere display certain basic skills and behaviour.
The following are a few key dimensions displayed by excellent leaders:
- Ownership. Successful leaders share their teams’ successes but also take ownership when things don’t go so well. They ask what they as leaders could have done differently in certain situations instead of looking for excuses, blaming other people or departments or pointing fingers at people who report to them. At performance discussions they ask how they as leaders can help people to perform better in future. Excellent leaders measure their own success by the success of the teams they are leading.
- Successful leaders stay inquisitive at all times and focused on what they can learn and how they can develop as leaders. Some leaders are always focusing on proving that his or her opinion is right rather than focusing on what they can learn from other people. If a leader is on the defence all the time, he or she can miss out on good learning experiences in the process. Excellent leaders are also prepared to make mistakes sometimes because this is always the best teacher.
- Integrity. This sounds like an obvious quality but in practice it is not always so easy. Integrity means that leaders’ actions and behaviour are always in line with the values that they present as their own and that what they expect of their team members is also that which the team members may expect of their leader. They are always consistent and loyal in their actions. Leaders often ask their team members to be frugal while the management team themselves waste money on luxuries and personal comfort. This is not integrity.
- Sensitivity. The concept of emotional intelligence is well known. This is what sensitivity focuses on. Is the leader still sensitive to his or her own emotions as well as to the impact of his or her behaviour or decisions on others? They remain sensitive and often ask how their clients and team members feel about decisions before they are implemented. Sensitive leaders regularly communicate decisions and changes because they are sensitive to the fact that people find change difficult and that consultation and communication can make these challenges easier.
- Passion. Leaders that inspire others are those who are absolutely sure that are in the right place at the right time. They do not fill this role just because they want to make money, because of feelings of guilt or because others expect it of them. They fill this role with energy and passion because the KNOW that this is the place where they can make a difference and where they really want to be. These leaders’ love for their work can be clearly seen in everything they say and do.
- Courage. Successful leaders do not shy away from addressing difficult matters when necessary, from taking unpopular decisions at times or to take the bull by the horns. They are also open and willing to be subjected to the same honesty from their team members, to discuss and debate difficult matters within the team rather than ignoring them. They move out of their comfort zone with relative ease even though it may often be the more difficult option. Such a leader is often prepared to take risks if it could benefit the team.
- Wisdom. Excellent leaders are those with good judgment. They learn from their mistakes and experience from the past and can accurately forecast future possibilities and challenges. Such a leader asks a lot of questions and use experts and specialists at the right times. They can look at a problem from various points of view and set off the pros and cons of a decision against each other before they take action. An excellent leader is objective and does not take emotional or impulsive decisions.
To be a good leader, you must have a basic knowledge and leadership skills and successfully apply them. To be an excellent leader, however, you must reflect the above-mentioned dimensions in your everyday actions and behaviour. The good news is that you can acquire, practise and perfect these dimensions to fully exploit your potential as a leader.
Are you ready to be an excellent leader?