I happen to think they’re a little bit of both. I believe, however, there are some basic characteristics that often distinguish effective leaders from ordinary ones. What do you think? Here are some personality characteristics that I think go hand-in-hand with effective leadership.
#1 Effective Leaders are Focused
To me, the ability to focus is a standout quality of all great leaders. When there’s an objective to be accomplished, you need someone at the helm who’s going to see it through from beginning to end. Amid the challenges and distractions of any task at hand, a leader must be able to hold the vision so that everyone can work towards achieving it.
#2 Effective Leaders are Task-Oriented
Many leaders are task-oriented and they like to get things done. After all, leadership is not just standing at the helm, it’s about navigating the ship to a particular destination – and you actually need to know how to do that. Certainly, not all leaders are “get-it-done” types, however they usually have a good handle as to requisite tasks and how to accomplish them. Task-orientation is foundational to “do-ers” and that’s why people love them — either in leadership or as team members.
#3 Effective Leaders Take Initiative
Great leaders take initiative. They love what they do and they don’t need prompts to get them into action. They’re not afraid of getting involved and doing the work. Leadership is not about sitting on the mountain and watching everyone else get things done. It’s about getting right in there and doing the work. True leaders don’t just manage teams, they work with them and with enthusiasm
#4 Effective Leaders are Committed
It’s all about the commitment. Commitment to the vision, the objectives, and most importantly, to the team. It’s about being “for” them and “with” them and supportive throughout. You can’t lead when you’re not committed. You won’t have the energy to do what needs to be done and to persevere to the end. And, we all know how projects turn out when there’s no buy-in from the start. You’re either in it to win it or you’re not. And, it always shows. I believe that you show up committed or you go home and leave it to someone who is.
#5 Effective Leaders have Self-Knowledge
Good leaders are authentically connected within. They know themselves. Leaders who know themselves better, lead better. They understand they’re not perfect and that others aren’t either. They know how to uplevel strengths (in themselves and their teams) and how to supplement weaker areas, as necessary. They don’t pretend to be someone they are not; and they aren’t afraid of being open and honest about it either. There’s just no place for pretenses, narcissistic behavior, or nonsense when it comes to leadership.
These are just some of the characteristics I believe are foundational to being an effective leader. Stay tuned for a future update where I’ll discuss a few more. Until then … Be a leader and make it happen!