True leadership is defined by the qualities you possess, not by the position you hold. Whether you are the CEO of a successful company or simply an employee who others depend on, you are still a leader. Leadership isn’t a title, it’s a state of being.
In a recent article published on Entrepreneur.com, David Hassell, CEO and Founder of 14Five, discusses leadership qualities that you should cultivate in yourself, as well as look for in others.
Willingness to learn. Even once you have made it to the top and have proven yourself, it’s important to continue your growth. Being a leader does not equate to having all the answers and you should feel comfortable to ask questions. Additionally, once you are removed from the front-line, you are prone to become less familiar with day-to-day processes. Firsthand knowledge can potentially become less relatable. “Asking questions on a regular basis allows for uncovering great employee ideas and insights that might otherwise go unnoticed”.
Intuition. In today’s data-driven world, most people weigh all the facts before making a decision. While this is not wrong, sometimes the data doesn’t lead to an obvious answer and you will need to trust your intuition. Take everything you know into account before making your decision but learn to trust your gut. “Once the decision is made, stand by it so that others will feel confident about your leadership”.
Ability to let go. This is a very important quality to have. Nothing is more aggravating or frustrating than having your manager constantly breathing down your neck. Employees who work under micromanagement don’t blossom and flourish. Furthermore, managers who aren’t capable of delegating for fear of not getting the job done, don’t ultimately get anything done. A leader needs to be able to let go and trust his team. Not only will this free up your time and allow you to focus on some higher-level tasks, but “it [also] sends the message that you trust others to perform in their own zones of genius”.
Adaptability. Picture this: you have created the perfect strategy and outline for your next project and something comes along to throw your plan off course. It happens; it’s as simple as that. A leader needs to be able to “fearlessly adapt to change and encourage others to be nimble enough to roll with the punches.”
Encouraging. “As a leader, it is far better to inspire people to push against their own boundaries than have them shut down under demands and threats.” Provide guidance and motivation; be nurturing. It’s important to not just tell people what to do but to work together and define achievable goals and objectives.
To read the original article and learn about additional leadership qualities, head on over to Entrepreneur.com.