For as long as I can remember, people have asked the question “Are you a leader or a follower?” There was an attempt to categorize or label people based on their ability to lead other people. What if I were to tell you that everyone is a leader, either by choice or default? Would it change your perception of who you are, or would you continue to think of yourself as a follower because that is what you’ve believed all your life?
If you are a small business owner, then you are definitely a leader. You are a leader of a very important organization – your business. Leadership is what helps us move people into action, including ourselves. So the question is not whether or not you are a leader because you are. The question we have to answer for ourselves is how well do we lead? How effective are you in motivating and inspiring yourself and other people in your life?
According to Bruce Schneider at iPEC Coaching, “our leadership ability determines whether or not our children do their homework, and how well they do it; how well we negotiate the purchase of a new car or home; how we communicate with anyone we do business with; how we develop mutually supportive and sustaining relationships, and most importantly, how much energy we can muster to motivate ourselves to take action – sometimes life-altering action – to live our most powerful, productive, and purposeful lives.”
Evaluating Leadership Qualities
In my lifetime, I have had the fortunate opportunity to be around a lot of inspiring leaders. I’ve also had the experience of being exposed to people who, though in leadership positions, were not motivating or inspiring enough for me to want to follow. As a leader myself, in my home and business life, I have paid particular attention to what leadership qualities are effective in inspiring other people. Below are seven traits that I feel are worthy of mention.
A Heart of Goodness
An inspiring leader genuinely cares about other people. She has a giving spirit. When leaders are more concerned about what they can receive from people than what they can give, others have a tendency to avoid them. None of us want to be in a relationship where someone is continually taking from us and giving nothing in return. A great leader doesn’t take advantage of other people – her mindset is one of equality and respect for all human beings. As a leader of your business, create opportunities for everyone to win.
A Life in Motion
Most people are inspired by people who take action. All the good things that happen in this world are because people take positive action. Companies create products that help change people’s lives. Non-profit agencies support important causes. Authors and songwriters entertain people and touch people’s lives, often to a point of life-altering change. Local churches gather volunteers to help people in need. Effective leaders know that nothing happens until you take action.
A Foundation of Positive Energy
When I think of people who have positive energy, I think of individuals who are physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually strong. They are not necessarily in perfect shape, but there is a glow about them that only comes from inner strength. Let’s face it. Healthy leaders are inspiring. Most of us want to experience some semblance of good health, and we look to leaders as examples of how to achieve that. Taking care of our whole being is necessary if we want to radiate positive energy, and this energy will propel us forward and attract what we want in life.
An Approach of Preparedness and Organization
An effective leader is an excellent time manager. Your perception of time and how you use your time directly affects the success you experience in your business and life. Successful leaders understand that time is a gift and they choose how they are going to use their time. They choose to relax and do nothing just as easily as they choose to complete a task. Being prepared and organized requires thoughtfulness. We have to take the time to think about what we need to get done, what is most important to us, and what our plan of action will be to accomplish our goals. We cannot communicate our vision and lead others to success if we are not prepared and organized in our approach.
A Demeanor of Elegance and Poise
It could be me, but I have always been inspired by people who carry themselves with elegance and poise. There is something about this type of demeanor that radiates confidence. A confident leader is admired and respected because she respects herself. But not many people are motivated to follow the footsteps of leaders who are unsure of themselves because how we treat ourselves is a direct reflection of how we treat others. Elegant leaders display style and beauty in their appearance, their mannerisms,
A Spirit of Creativity
Once upon a time, I didn’t see myself as someone blessed with the “creativity” gene, but the fact is, we are all creative individuals. To be an inspiring leader, you must first admit that you are creative, and start tapping into your own personal creativity. It’s our creative energy that helps us find solutions to everyday challenges, big and small. Creativity is what enables us to generate new ideas. It allows us to be self-expressive. Leaders need to be able to rise above the muck in life and see opportunity. Sometimes people – me included – get so caught up in their problems that they forget there are always creative solutions to every problem. A great leader has the ability to shift her perspective and open her mind to all the possibilities around her. She has access to her intuitive self and she trusts her innate creative abilities.
A Character of Wisdom and Inspiration
An effective leader has great insight; she has the ability to discern what is true and right. She is wise with her words and actions. One of the bosses I worked for had tremendous wisdom. Whatever situation I brought to him, he always stopped and listened deeply to what I was telling him. He took the time to be thoughtful about what approach he thought was best. He was reflective, had the ability to look at a situation from many different angles, and he always chose his words carefully. Because of his wisdom, I always trusted his judgment and never hesitated to take any action he suggested. I worked for him for 14 years and I had tremendous respect for him; he taught me much of what I know today about making wise business choices.
To be a great leader, you must have the ability to inspire yourself and other people to take action. What motivates people to take action? There has to be some type of emotional drive that encourages people to move. The person needs to understand W.I.I.F.M. (What’s In It For Me?). Emotional drives are different for everyone because people value different things.
A lot of small business owners struggle with motivating themselves to take action. They are challenged by their own inability to remain positive and productive in spite of life’s circumstances. Before you can inspire others, you must first work on encouraging yourself. When you have the ability to lead yourself effectively, others are more likely to follow your lead. Imagine how your business might change if you actively worked on embracing and developing all seven of these leadership qualities.
Everyone is a Leader – Embracing and Developing the 7 Qualities of a Great Leader
July 13, 2017