What makes a leader successful? Great leaders have a certain quality about them. These qualities of leadership inspire confidence and hard work. It simultaneously instills a “we’re all in this together” kind of camaraderie and a faith that someone is, indeed, steering everything in the right direction. It is leadership, and it’s not as innate or as unachievable, as you might think. Rather, it’s a quality you can learn to project.
Whether you are a small business or start-up the difference between success and failure across industries stems from one word: leadership. Those in charge truly set the stage for success. Without the presence of a strong leader, demotivated staff, undelivered promises and disappointed stakeholders, weighs down the landscape. So here are some of the top qualities of top leaders.
- They form personal connections.
Even in a crowded room, top leaders make people feel like they’re having a one-on-one conversation, as if they’re the only person in the room that matters. And, for that moment, they are. Likeable leaders communicate on a very personal, emotional level. They never forget that there’s a flesh-and-blood human being standing in front of them.
- They believe in themselves and their team without ego
Top leaders aren’t egomaniacs; but they are confident. When they stand behind the product or service their company is offering and know that it’s good, they project a calming and inspiring image to everyone around them. Clients and employees especially want to believe in them, but no one does if they don’t have faith in themselves. They also believe that their team has their back; they aren’t alone in this.
- They’re approachable.
You know those people who only have time for you if you can do something for them? Top leaders truly believe that everyone, regardless of rank or ability, is worth their time and attention. They make everyone feel valuable because they believe that everyone is valuable.
- They’re positive.
Likeable leaders always maintain a positive outlook, and this shows in how they describe things. They don’t have to give a presentation to the board of directors; they get to share their vision and ideas with the board. They don’t have to go on a site tour; they get to meet and visit with the people who make their company’s products. They don’t even have to diet; they get to experience the benefits of eating healthfully. Even in undeniably negative situations, top and likeable leaders emanate an enthusiastic hope for the future, a confidence that they can help make tomorrow better than today.
- They Draw lines, are firm, and set precedence
Taking on work that isn’t financially feasible (i.e., working for less than you’re worth or working harder than you’re being paid to) will never get your company off the ground. Top leaders are firm about their bottom line and stand behind it. They aren’t in business to go bankrupt or foster abusive relationships. They don’t allow a client to make unreasonable demands at ungodly hours of the night, or allow employees to walk all over them and spread negativity. If they did the trends will continue and tarnish as well as undermine their leadership. Lines are drawn early and their company is built on a solid foundation.
- They demonstrate integrity.
Top and likeable leaders inspire trust and admiration through their actions, not just their words. Many leaders say that integrity is important to them, but likeable leaders walk their talk by demonstrating integrity every day. Even a leader who oozes charm won’t be likeable if that charm isn’t backed by a solid foundation of integrity.
- They read people like a book.
Top and likeable leaders know how to read people as unspoken communication is often more important than the words people say. They note facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice in order to get what’s really going on with their people. In other words, they have high social awareness, a critical EQ skill.
- They appreciate potential.
Robert Brault said, “Charisma is not so much getting people to like you as getting people to like themselves when you’re around.” Top and likeable leaders not only see the best in their people, but they also make sure that everyone else sees it too. They draw out people’s talents so that everyone is bettering themselves and the work at hand.
- Encourage responsibility through accountability.
Essential elements of accountability are to ensure that roles are clearly understood, expectations are clearly set and success is defined up front and then measured. It’s not what you expect but what you inspect that will get done. Be sure those to be held to account also have the authority to get it done and have a clear sense for how success will be measured. Then they hold folks to account for their delivery.