There are many traits of a successful leader, and successful leaders are successful learners as well. Find below, my pick on successful traits of a leader, if you aspire to become a successful leader in future, these traits are a must have!
- Have a vision : You can only go as far as you can see. How far you can see, decides how far you can go. To see beyond what you already see, you will need insights. Insights come from experience of successes and failures. How many times have you succeeded and failed in the past? What is the long term strategic vision you hold? To know more than you already know, you must invest in yourself and become a continuous learner. Continuous learning with action will give experience and wisdom over time. Wisdom will provide necessary insights you will need to see beyond what you already see.
- Be customer focused : Improve performance on quality and delivery not to satisfy your manager, peers or even a CEO, you must improve because a customer who pays for your service or product relies on you, has posed his faith on you, and believes you will do a great job. It is your customer who tolerates poor performance, deviations from specifications yet gives another chance with a hope that you will change and do better next time. Be loyal to your customers , look at your routine from your customers view point. This will never let you fail, it is a proven path to become exceptional leader.
- Trust : Misery is not when others don’t trust you, it is when you don’t trust yourself. To trust yourself is a strength. To build trust you should admit your abilities, strengths, and weaknesses alike. You should continuously work and improve on your weaknesses. Persevere on the path and realize you only have what you have worked for. People don’t fail intentionally, everyone wants to succeed, but constrained by abilities and skills. Appreciate failures that were a result of sincere efforts, trust yourself and others, create a climate of trust.
- Be fearless, be loyal – Deliver your actions fearlessly to meet or exceed your customers and organizations expectations. Always question, what you do and how you do it? Was it in the best interest of your company and its customers? Combat circumstances and people with least respect, thought and actions aligned to company and its customers. Did you know? Only 7.6 grams of gold is excavated from a tonne of ore! Leaders are but 7.6 grams of gold excavated from a tonne of ore. Do what is right for the organization and its customers, be relentless, fearless and loyal to your company and its customers.
- Be a listener, drive optimism – Listen, give credit to others, help others get credit, encourage those at the bottom of the pyramid to think and share fearlessly. Best of the ideas bubble from those who run the shop, those who run the last mile. Many don’t speak out their views, because they are afraid how others will view them? Be a good listener and do not discourage people who come with out of the box ideas, no matter how weird they sound. Project optimism, be full of energy, be receptive to new ideas. Replace grimness with humor and laughter. ‘Give’ is a leadership term, give optimism and energy to all.
- Be persuasive – What happens when you suggest your views and people reject them? You feel bad even worst, you may think to give up, to discover and carry good ideas anymore. If you do so, you miss a wonderful opportunity to improve your skills to convince others. Be persuasive, every time you fail to present your message effectively, follow it up with a better plan, conviction and enthusiasm next time. There is only one way to reach the finish line, move towards finish line. Instead of considering to stop persuading great thoughts and actions just because you failed to communicate them effectively.
- Set stretch goals – If people are not laughing at your goals, consider they are ordinary and anyone can achieve them! Progressive leaders don’t set and chase such goals. If you are see the dartboard, you will hit all over the board, if you see only the bull’s eye, you will do exceptional work! This is the proven way to set and achieve stretch goals.
- Stress speed – Speed decides the road you are in, and road decides the time to destination. Underline speed! Prefer experiments and rapid prototypes over lengthy studies to test your theories. If you succeed with less perfect solutions, perfection will only make it better. Early failure will leave you with some time to work with alternatives, a late failure leaves you with a calamity. Speed is the key.
- Be candid – How often do you call ‘good’ as good, and ‘bad’ as ‘bad’? It is not easy, judgment and conditions prevent you from giving candid feedback. When you give true feedback, bluntly at times, other person will count on you for ‘honest’ views. If you are not candid, you won’t be open to receive them either! Be candid, it is a significant milestone in the path to leadership.
- Be action oriented – Judgment, conditions and expectations are breeding ground for inaction. Rid yourself of these three, act at the speed of thought! Relentless action distinguishes a leader from others. Be fast, be first, nobody knows second, ‘first’ is the leader. Swami Vivekananda has said, if there is no here, there is no hereafter.
This is just my pick!
Think what is your list of top 10 traits to become a successful leader! – You deserve more than what you already have, start with this thought. Rest assured, your ‘self’ will guide you further, just make a beginning, the cosmos will rush to help you in all possible ways!