By Linda Krei
(Originally published in Nov/Dec 2019 in beingbettermagazine.com)

Many different types of individuals are drawn to leadership with a wide variety of talents, aptitudes, and personal traits contributing to a leader’s personality, spirit, and vision. The attitudes, mindsets, passion, and character that define a successful leader can sometimes be hard to pinpoint, specify or sum up in a profile. However, it is always easy to recognize these traits or spot them in action (or the lack thereof when they don’t exist). By examining and understanding the more predominate qualities of a truly effective leader, it is possible to emulate them, nurture them, and develop them for yourself. As Brad Sugars, the founder of ActionCOACH says, “When leaders get better, everyone wins.” So, let’s focus on A few essential characteristics that are commonly found with highly effective, successful leaders.

1.The ability to communicate. “Effective leaders recognize that the most important part of any business is the human element. Human resources, whether in the form of employees, strategic partners, or clients, are what makes or breaks a business. Therefore, communication is the key to successful relationships with people. The effective leader works to hone communication skills (written, spoken, or non-verbal) taking advantage of all tools and resources available. Above all, leaders develop a keen ability to listen and hear what others are trying to say, because the best communicators get that way by first being the best listeners.

How to begin: Start with practicing. Practice BE-ing. Practice being fully present in the moment, whatever that moment is right now. Be Here Now. Then, be still and listen. Isn’t it interesting that the letters spelling LISTEN rearranged also spell SILENT? Practice being silent. “W.A.I.T.” asking yourself, ‘Why Am I Talking?’ and pause to be silent and deeply listen. It is important for others to simply be heard.”

2. Confidence. “Confidence is a hallmark of effective leaders. Not all of us are born with confidence, but we are capable of acquiring it. Many confident women and men gain a sense of self esteem and faith in their ability to meet challenges by acting in the face of adversity, even if they are unsure of themselves. When they meet these challenges, this feeds their confidence, pushing them to meet bigger challenges in the future.

How to begin: Ask yourself if there is F.E.A.R. getting in your way –“False Expectations Appearing Real,” whether it be a fear of failure or a fear of success. A first step to building greater confidence is to do this personal reflective work; then name it, embrace it, and push through it.”

3. Passion for learning and sharing. “Effective leaders are continual, life-long learners. Much of what they know they learned not in a classroom, but on their own – seeking out information, asking questions, staying curious, and reading. They are also quick to learn from their own mistakes. To teach is to learn. And to lead, train, and share with others, the successful leader is constantly striving to learn more; to think differently. True leaders surround themselves with people who either know more than they know or know things that are different from what they know and do. They entertain the views of others and different perspectives that may be unlike their own. They remain open to knowledge and then intentionally share it with others.

How to begin: Reflect on your own learning edge. Are you content with your current level of learning or stuck in your own comfort zone? Are you experiencing the joy and excitement of staying curious and exploring new possibilities? This will give you energy to ignite your learning edge in new and creative ways.

In what areas are you interested in becoming even more effective as a leader? Invest in yourself. Engage a business coach to learn more about characteristics and traits of truly effective leaders and together determine how you gain a wonderfully inspiring boost of confidence, foresight, and determination to realize that you, too, can experience that winning leadership strategy. Contact Coach Linda today for a complimentary session!

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