Leadership styles vary wildly, from the humility and spirituality of Gandhi to the Iron Man-like efficiency of Elon Musk. But across all these different, inspirational figures, there are commonalities – attributes you can foster in yourself to become a more engaging, respected and inspiring leader in your own right. Here are four vitally important qualities:
There is a famous saying, that ‘those who have a reason why can undertake almost any how’. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to determine the why. You have to lay out a grand vision. Consider these questions: What are you out there to achieve? What’s the long-term goal for your company? How are you going to make a difference? Setting out a clear, evocative image of where you want to go is the best way to engage and inspire your team.
2) A relentless thirst for knowledge
A recent study from Forbes found that in our world of industry disruption and constant change, maintaining a curious mind is critical for any business leaders. Some good ways to do that are: fostering an insatiable desire for knowledge, focusing on continuous professional development, and developing the humility to realise you can learn from anything and anyone. An open mind often helps to create tolerant, productive environments where people are excited to come to work and contribute.
3) Maintaining a positive outlook
Everyone has had the negative experience of working in a low energy, negative environment. It’s completely uninspiring. Leaders encourage positivity and enthusiasm, even in challenging circumstances. When things looked dire for Britain in the early stages of WW2, Churchill didn’t confront the British people with a negative message of surrender and sadness. He focused on the positives, inspiring a generation to ‘never surrender’. That’s the kind of impact a positive attitude can have.
4) A proactive approach
A leader has two choices: A) to react to the world around them, buffeted by new pieces of information and in a chaotic state, or B) to weigh up advantages and disadvantages ahead of time, leveraging their strategic insight to head off problems before they occur. A proactive leader stays on top of their problems, enacts change and is a force to be reckoned with. Empowering your team to make similar decisions can boost the productivity of an entire department, office or company.
By working on developing these characteristics, you’re putting yourself into a position to become a far more effective and inspiring leader.