Leadership qualities I’m personally trying develop & look for in my leadership team
History is littered with inspirational leadership and I am by no means even an amateur historian. There are certain character traits in history’s leaders that contemporary business leaders should develop in themselves. Hopefully this post will inspire you to think about what character traits make you a great leader.
It isn’t clear to me whether a person is simply born a good leader rather than developing into one. What is clear is that a great leader is sufficiently self-aware to identify their own strengths and weaknesses. Thereby knowing which character traits come naturally to their personality and which require development.
Honesty & Integrity
Having an exemplary character is in my opinion a pre-requisite on the road to becoming a great leader. A great leader has to “walk the talk” and strive to live their life with honesty and integrity, because, without honesty and integrity, trust and respect are quickly eroded. Both of which in my opinion are the keystones to great leadership.
Humble and confident
It seems like almost all of the inspirational leaders from history come across as being strong and decisive, yet humble. Don’t mistake my language “yet humble” as being weak or unsure, quite the contrary in fact. To me it means a person has the self-confidence to recognise they don’t have all the answers and can recognise the value of others without feeling threatened. It also means that the credit is given to those that deserve it no matter what their status.
Strategic and visionary
From an early age my dad and I used to play chess. I don’t recall ever winning a game against the old boy, while, the lessons learnt from playing the game have transferred into my professional life. While I’m not saying go and learn how to play chess, what I am saying is that you should try to develop how to think at a strategic level. I.e. far beyond your next move.
Excellence and a Growth Mindset
A great leader is always looking to raise the bar. We often hear rhetoric about continual improvement, but a growth mindset is much more than this, which is especially relevant in digital businesses. Great leaders in my opinion approach life thinking differently, they’re tenacious and positive. Some great examples of the way I try to live and develop my growth mindset are:
- I’ll never stop learning new things
- I can learn anything
- When frustrated, I still persevere
- I want to challenge myself and those around me
- When I experience failure, I learn from it. Fail Fast and Fail Forward
- If you succeed, then I am inspired. I love watching others grow.
Finally, I’d like to recommend that you read about a favourite historic and inspirational leader that I learnt of from in this 90’s epic movie, Braveheart. Scotland’s true leader Sir William Wallace who I’d like to think exhibited all the traits above.