Nature or nurture: what affects the character of a person more? Are people born a certain way, or can they make a conscious effort to change their character? This is a debate that has eluded many. However, the latest discourse concludes that people can change their character and inculcate new traits should they wish to. But why is this important? Can the character of a leader determine their success? Let us untangle the mystery here.
Who Is a Great Leader?
Great leaders are resilient and command respect. They have authority, but they are responsible with the power vested in them by others. Moreover, great leaders can keep consistent behavior and follow the highest standards of morals and ethics. However, is that all?
You put this question out there and everyone will have a different answer to it. Some find Joseph Stalin a great leader because he was able to hold onto power. Others believe that George Washington was a great leader because he did the unthinkable and changed the course of history. But who exactly is a great leader? Let us discuss this further.
17 Character Traits of a Great Leader
Any character that is generally considered good is also considered essential for a great leader. After thorough research, we have identified the 15 character traits that contribute to the success of great leaders.
1. High Integrity
When you are given too much power, you often get uncontrollable and start feeling that you can do whatever you want. The lines between right and wrong start to blur, and you feel less accountable for your actions. This is where integrity comes in. Leaders with this trait tend to make a clear distinction between right and wrong. They tend to make the right choices and do not let their power get to their head.
2. Learning Agility
Learning agility is one of the most important traits that a leader should possess. It is about knowing what to do and how to do it. Moreover, it is about using your old experiences to carve out new paths. Leaders who have agility tend to be very adaptive and are generally good at mitigating tough situations.
3. Empathy Towards All Sectors
As a leader, it is easy to be empathetic towards your peers or even your seniors. Sometimes, you feel like you can not be too empathetic because that will make you a weak leader. However, leaders that are considerate of other people’s problems and treat humans with respect and show them a deeper understanding tend to be more popular. This generally translates to a higher level of obedience, too.
4. Developing Trust in Leadership
Like many leaders, you might think that leaders develop trust with experience. You might expect your employees to automatically trust you if you have stuck with them for a certain number of years. But it does not work like that. Employees or followers trust leaders that are consistent in their behavior and do not try to conceal truths from them. Leaders who are okay with being vulnerable from time to time also tend to develop trust in leadership.
5. Ability to Delegate Tasks
The ability to successfully delegate responsibilities is not a behavior, it is a character trait. There are generally three kinds of leaders
- Leaders that are too skeptical and are not happy with anyone’s work so they end up doing all the things themselves.
- Leaders that delegate too many tasks to the good employees and almost none to the newbies.
- Leaders that know the importance of delegating tasks and consider it as a learning opportunity for everyone.
6. Conscious Effort to Influence
If you believe yourself to be a good person who possesses certain superior skills, you will naturally want to influence others. However, to do this, you need to follow the best standards for yourself. You need to be consistently moral and ethical so that others can learn from your example. When leaders do not follow a fixed standard, they influence others to have lousy behavior in the office too.
It is a truth universally accepted that truthfulness is a character trait that makes ordinary people extraordinary. Your Employees or followers should trust your word and know that you are free from deceit. If they can not trust what you are telling them, they will not be able to give it their all to their organizations.
8. Greater Accountability
If you are the type of leader that focuses on accountability for all, then you need to have the highest standards of accountability for yourself too. You can not expect everyone else to contribute to a healthy and non-toxic environment while doing the complete opposite yourself. Make sure you empower the HR enough so that anytime you falter, you also become answerable to others.
Nobody is perfect and any person, leader or otherwise, who believes that they are untouchable and devoid of any drawback is deceiving both themselves and others. Leaders should have high self-awareness. They should know their qualities, what they bring to the table, and their drawbacks: all the things they are currently doing wrong and can improve in the future.
10. Conflict Management
As a leader, it is natural to be a mediator. There will be times when your team members will argue or get into trouble with each other. As a good leader, it will be your responsibility to not put a light to fire and instead try to mitigate the situation. This is an integral character trait that you can develop with some effort. Try practicing your art of diplomacy with training programs like Best Diplomats and you will be on your road to excelling at conflict management.
Effectiveness and time management come together to create a responsive leader. In this fast-paced world where the status quo is changing now and then, a responsive leader: someone with the ability to come to quick decisions comes in handy. Such leaders are not only capable of pulling their organizations out of difficult situations, but also capable of finding innovative solutions to problems.
12. A Constant Learning Attitude
When leaders start thinking they know everything, remember that their time for doom is near. Talk about the famous leaders of history or the most popular female leaders, and you will see them have a knack for learning. They realize that they are not perfect and that they can always learn new skills and diversify their portfolio. This makes them stand out in the crowd.
13. Effective Communication Skills
You can be the best person in this world with the most extraordinary ideas. However, without the ability to effectively communicate those ideas, you can not excel. As a leader, you need to develop your listening skills and your speaking skills. The former takes precedence because often leaders do not realize how important it is to listen to the suggestions and feedback of their employees. It widens their perspective on life.
14. Gratitude Towards Others
Gratitude often develops in childhood. However, it is a trait often missing in great leaders. Leaders should realize that whatever they achieve, no matter how big or small, requires the support of others. This can be their family, their friends, their colleagues, or their employees. No matter who these supporters are, remember to pay your respects and show gratitude where it is due. It does not take anything away from your work or contributions.
15. Courage to See Things Through
The road to leadership is riddled with difficulties. You will face the wrath of many, including some of your loved ones. However, as leaders, you need to show courage. Brave leaders do not give up when things go south. Look at the difficult journeys of world leaders like Muhammad Ali Jinnah of Pakistan or Martin Luther King of Africa. Had these great leaders given up, they would not have been able to achieve their dreams.
16. Consistency Throughout Leadership
Good and bad times come and go. However, the way you behave in your times of joy and sadness tells a lot about you. Leaders, more than anyone else, should be consistent in whatever they do. You can not begin with being an epitome of greatness and then let those character attributes go the minute sadness surrounds you. Consistency of behavior thought process and action are what sets great leaders apart from others.
17. Thinking Out of The Box
Leaders can achieve what others can not. They do not look at the status quo and think of all the good things. They have a keen sense of observation and can identify problems with it. They do the same when they look at economic trends and markets. This is why leaders need to think out of the box and do the unthinkable.
Why are great leaders successful today?
1. Inspiring Commitment
Leaders with great character tend to inspire lifelong commitment in others. You would have often read stories about how great leaders are revered by their employees. Most people will develop more loyalty towards a particular leader than they would towards an organization. This compels them to give in their all, thus ultimately increasing the repute of the organization and the repute of the leader.
2. Developing Self-Awareness in Others
A self-aware leader tends to influence that in others. When great leaders do not shy away from their vulnerabilities, nor try to hide them, they create a chain reaction in others. They influence others to recognize problems in their behavior. This creates an intrinsic form of accountability that runs throughout the fabric of an organization.
3. Employee Retention
With quiet quitting on the rise, organizations must be able to retain the best of their employees. This can only be achieved when they are led by a great leader. Having the above character characteristics can help leaders boost the morale of employees and thus motivate them to stay loyal to their jobs for a long time. Ultimately, this reflects in the company statistics.
4. Promotes Strategic Planning
You may wonder what the character of a leader has to do with strategic planning. The obvious answer is that it allows the leader to be innovative, creative and enhance their mental capabilities. When leaders are fixated on doing good for the business, they are automatically able to compare the pros and cons of a scheme and chose the best possible solution to a problem.
5. Increases Financial Incentives
Leaders with a deeper sense of themselves and their surroundings are great thinkers. Since they are not deceptive and do not have ulterior motives, they can work towards the progress of the company. This reflects in the statistics and growth of the company. Moreover, this allows the upper management to see the worth of the leader and thus increase the incentives they are offering to keep the leader associated with them.
Develop a Great Leadership Character With Best Diplomats
Best Diplomats helps you enhance your overall character and prepare you to take on the challenges of leadership head-on. But more importantly, it gives you a platform where you can test the new you. You get to interact with hundreds and thousands of potential leaders from all around the world. This opportunity allows you to develop your communication skills and hone your diplomatic skills.
Additionally, Best Diplomats also invites many great leaders to its conferences; leaders that have single-handedly transformed the organizations they have worked in. To know more about the great opportunities that lie ahead of you, join Best Diplomats today.
Before you finish reading, get one thing straight: you can always improve; the road to learning never ends. You may have read the above article and realized that you do not have more of the character attributes needed for great leadership. However, you have nothing to be depressed about. A person’s character is ever-evolving. You can make great strides in your career if you only decide to make a conscious effort to improve yourself. Luckily for you, Best Diplomats can help you do that.
What Are the 3 Most Important Characteristics of a Leader?
The three most important character traits of a leader include:
1) Authenticity and truthfulness: the ability to speak the truth, even when it is difficult.
2) Empathy: the ability to show understanding and kindness towards your peers and colleagues.
3) Adaptivity: the ability to manipulate the stimulus according to your wish
What Makes a Strong Leader?
Strong leaders inculcate strength in others and uplift others. They not only praise their employees when they do good but also ensure they motivate their employees when they are faltering. Additionally, strong leaders show courage, even when the times are rough, and can sustain growth during difficult times.
What Is a Good Leadership Style?
The best form of leadership is one that promotes the growth of a company while also keeping all the employees happy. Looking at the trends of today, it can be safe to say that the inclusive leadership style is the best one. It not only allows leaders to include a diverse number of people in their team, but it also compels them to give these people equality of opportunity.
What Is the Most Important Skill of a Good Leader?
There is a lot of discourse regarding this, but almost everyone will agree that effective communication skills make up the top quality of a great leader. Other traits that follow include setting the right example and influencing others. Leaders who have a high sense of morality and ethics also do well in their leadership roles.