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Top 10 Critical Competencies of Great Leaders

Great leaders share many common traits. Though criteria for leadership in the workplace can vary from company to company, the majority of effective leaders exemplify certain skills. By focusing on developing these same skills, you can take your leadership abilities to the next level.

Develop the important traits necessary to become a great leader:

  1. Self-motivated. As a leader, it is important to be able to motivate yourself to take action to move forward toward your goals – whether they are personal or team goals. Leaders are driven to get things done and they lead their team to do the same.

  2. The ability to delegate. You cannot do it all yourself. The most effective leaders surround themselves with skilled people, define their responsibilities, and then get out of the way. Great leaders understand the importance of capitalizing on their team members’ strengths. A single person is quite limited; however, the expertise of team takes the organization further. Learn how to share the workload based on the knowledge of individual team members.

  3. Communicate effectively. You might have a clear picture in your mind of what you would like to see happen. Unfortunately, no one can read your mind. A leader is responsible for sharing the vision and making expectations known. People can give what is needed when the leader communicates clearly what is required of the team. Provide status updates and keep everyone on the same page. Employees lose motivation when they do not understand the current situation fully.

  4. Develop others. Being a leader is not just about utilizing others to reach your goals. It is developing those around you. The more skilled your employees, the more they can assist the organization in achieving its goals. Share your expertise and help everyone around you to grow.

  5. Be committed. You cannot expect greater commitment than you are willing to provide. A leader sets the ceiling. Everyone else settles in somewhere below that point. Set the ceiling high and show them what true commitment looks like. You cannot lead from behind.

  6. Inspire others. A great leader knows how to inspire others to do their best work. It is not always easy to inspire those content to simply show up each day and collect a paycheck, but it is possible. Show your motivation and commitment. Even if you are only able to inspire a few people to do their best, it will make a positive difference.

  7. Have a clear focus. If you do not know what you want, you will not get it. Leaders are clear on their vision and readily share it with others. A clear vision serves as a roadmap. Employees can easily ask themselves if their actions are contributing to the attainment of the organization’s vision. Know your focus and communicate it effectively.

  8. Show respect. Strive to treat everyone fairly and avoid playing favorites. Everyone is worthy of a basic level of respect. Ensure that you are giving it.

  9. Confidence. It is natural to be drawn to others with confidence. You are viewed as more capable and trustworthy when your confidence level is high. Be comfortable with your skills and your plan. A lack of self-confidence will limit the ability of others to trust your vision and judgment.

  10. Decisiveness. Leaders make tough decisions fearlessly and take responsibility for the outcome. It is easy to make quick decisions when you are clear on your values and those of the company. If you cannot make up your mind, your leadership skills will be called into question. Practice by making small decisions quickly and following through on them. It gets easier with practice. You will be surprised by how much more you accomplish when you are able to make a clear decision.

Leaders are necessary in every organization. Great leaders share common characteristics that you can develop in yourself. Even if you do not feel you currently possess these qualities, you can grow your capacity to be an effective leader.

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