10 Features of Exceptional Leaders

By | August 13, 2015

Vince Lombardi once said:

“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”

In some ways, we all possess an innate ability to become leaders—as a friend, spouse, parent or business specialist. In the role of the Human Resources professional, leadership can certainly be the most valuable skill, something used to create a successful, productive workplace.

We all carry leadership traits within us, just waiting for the opportunity to present itself. All it takes is a sincere desire to use these tools to get the job done.

Distinguishing the qualities of a leader is the first step in becoming one; someone who is willing to manage their family, friends or team of coworkers through any obstacle—in business and in life.

If leadership is anything, it is something that is value added; use it and those who follow will perform more than what can be achieved independently.

The Top Ten features of all great leaders; use them to stimulate your co-workers, your employees and yourselves:

 

1. Confident

The difference between a leader and a follower is that the leader has the courage of conviction. To be confident is to teach others you are proficient in your actions, and you are someone willing to stand up for what they believe. Leaders do not know everything, but are assured and determined in what they do know.

 

2. Fair

Leaders hold definite boundaries, but they are aware of what those boundaries convey to others. They are not arbitrary, but always just in both their decisions and their actions.

 

3. Knowledgeable

Leaders always know of what they speak and are never fraudulent about what they do not know. To be a leader often requires being an expert in your field. No matter what it takes, always strive to learn all you can about your profession or discipline.

 

4. Decisive

Leaders accept a variety of opinions; they get all the necessary information and engages in debate to reach a decision. However, once a decision is made, there is no need for additional deliberation—it is now time to move on.

 

5. Balanced

Having clear boundaries and taking a firm stance will inevitably result in a few people bent out of shape. This is not just a reasonable expectation; it is preferable. Exposure to contrast is the only way a leader can be totally assured of their decisions. Considering and balancing differing opinions certainly helps strengthen leadership.

 

6. Delegator

Knowing when to take charge—as well as when to delegate authority—is the impact of a true leader. Of course, a leader does not require full harmony every time, but they do appreciate when it is time to take control.

 

7. Visionary

A strong vision is at the heart of leadership. Without a perception of greater purpose—from family, friends or a major corporation—you will never be able expect others to perform at a higher level. Inspiration can only come from a strong sense of purpose.

 

8. Empathetic

Caring about the people you are leading—not from fear of retribution, but from a sense of compassion for those around you.

 

9. Mentoring

Great leaders are also excellent teachers, inspiring those around them by their example. A great decision by an effective leader will always be the option with the highest virtue. Consider the lessons you teach others in the actions you take.

 

10. Thick-Skinned

Leadership is not for the squeamish or faint of heart; the unpopular decisions, made with caution and judgment, are often the calling card of the great leader. Never take criticism personally; disapproval is usually more about the interests of the critic than it is about you as a leader.

 

About Alex Noudelman

Alex Noudelman is a digital marketing expert at iRISEmedia. He received his Honors B.A. from York University and a Masters in Adolescent Education from D’Youville College.

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