Good leaders get things done. They build successful companies, motivate and often mentor the people who work for them and earn the respect of their colleagues, customers and others in their orbits. They work tirelessly, set goals, continually evaluate progress, and look for new opportunities and challenges.
Over the past several years, I’ve learned much during my own leadership journey. Today, I’m often approached by fledgling entrepreneurs and asked how I did it or what advice would I impart.
There are many qualities that, in my opinion, a good leader should have.
Here are five of them.
As soon as you make the decision to start a business—or assume leadership over an existing one—you’ll find that things don’t always go your way. Sometimes, you’ll have entire days when nothing wants to work the way it should. You’ll be frustrated, and that frustration might make you angry, tired or even want to give up. And that experience is what makes you a stronger leader.
You’re going to have your share of success, and you should rightfully enjoy and celebrate them. But when something doesn’t go well—the bank doesn’t approve your loan, a potential partner drops out, a deal falls through—you have to hang tough and soldier on. You will benefit from these types of experiences in that they will make you wiser and more savvy. Consider them learning experiences. We’ve all been there, and we’re more effective leaders because of them.
Comfortable taking calculated risks.
There are people who never step outside the box or leave their comfort zones. Entrepreneurship can be scary to those who prefer to keep things nice and neat. But that’s not why you started a company, is it? You realize that good results don’t just happen; you have to make them happen. There are many stories of self-made business leaders who quit their jobs, took out second mortgages or maxed out their credit cards to make their dreams a reality.
But it’s not just financial, and risk-relates decisions aren’t made in a vacuum. This is why we call them calculated risks. Before making a move that involves some degree of risk, a strong leader will evaluate all the factors involved, weigh the options and consider the likely outcomes. If the risk is worth taking to get from point A to point B, you’ll know it and act on it, focused on the prize.
Know how to work with people.
As a leader, one of your biggest responsibilities will be to hire, motivate and manage people who will work hard and dedicate their days to making your companies a success. Effective leaders know this, and develop their skills to ensure that they’re the most effective people managers they can be. If you’re a jerk boss, your company will likely be a revolving door. But if you’re a strong, motivating presence who knows how to get the most productivity from the people on your team, you will heighten your company’s potential for growth.
Be an effective delegator. Get to know your staff and each individual’s strengths. Foster teamwork. Appreciate the people on your team. Let them know how important they are to the company. Provide them with meaningful incentives and rewards for doing quality work. Seek their ideas and opinions.
If you’re a good leader, you’ll earn the confidence and trust of your partners, colleagues, employees, and customers. But here’s the thing: never let your ego get the better of you. When your company is successful, it will be due to a number of factors. Good leaders share the credit, admit their mistakes and view their role as a team leader.
Strive to embody these characteristics, and you’ll be on your way to being an effective and successful leader.