Top 5 characteristics of an exemplary leader
Check out which characteristics a leader should have and what you need to become one.
Check out which characteristics a leader should have and what you need to become one.
The quest for autonomy is common to an increasing number of people who, in most cases, are not content or identify themselves with traditional jobs.
However, contrary to what many might believe, being your own boss does not mean having fewer responsibilities or easier financial control. The truth is that entrepreneurship requires as much commitment as it presents the possibility of rewards.
Entrepreneurship requires, above all, dedication and the clear perception that, more than an alternative source of income, entrepreneurship is a way of life.
In this sense, one point needs to be very clear for those who decide to become their own boss: more than having the attitude of a boss (whether your own or of a group of people), you need to develop the attitude of a leader.
But do you know what it really means to be a leader?
It is a role similar to that of a boss, but with fundamental differences. The first difference between a boss and a leader is that while the former has only authority, the latter goes beyond and inspires, encourages engagement with the work being developed.
With this as a premise, we can already deduce how to distinguish the two roles, and this is what we’ll talk about throughout this article.
Keep on reading and discover five characteristics of an exemplary leader!
We can’t talk about entrepreneurship without talking about innovation, right?
It may seem basic, but being open to new ideas and alternative solutions is essential for someone to be a good leader, and this is harder than it sounds in theory.
New ideas almost always represent risks. Certain risks are high, others are minimal, but anyway, they are still essentially risks.
Therefore, being open to new ideas also means having the courage to face the unknown and many times, the unpredictable.
However, as we’ve said before, innovation is practically a requirement for those who wish to do business. But don’t worry, innovating doesn’t necessarily mean creating something completely new or discovering a unique market to be explored.
Innovation is also in the details, in the improvement of a process, in a different creative way of advertising etc.
The important thing is to always look for and explore new ways to improve work or a product, which is one of the characteristics of an exemplary leader.
Dealing with everyday adversity with emotional intelligence is probably one of the greatest challenges for any individual.
For those who decide to become entrepreneurs, this is an even more evident necessity. After all, when the person responsible for your professional development is only yourself, having emotional stability is even more important.
For this reason, emotional intelligence is one of the expected leadership characteristics in every entrepreneur. And this includes staying focused even on those days when you are stressed, discouraged, sad, tired, etc.
So that these mood swings don’t harm your work, you should always take care of your health (physical and mental), setting aside time for rest, leisure and activities that are good for you. (Here in the blog, we have a complete post on how to self-motivate. Make sure you check it out too).
It is important to be aware that we are all subject to problems and unforeseen events that can affect our emotional state. However, because the work carried out by leaders often influences a large number of people, it is best that they learn how to recognize their emotional changes and not allow these changes to harm their professional side.
Knowing yourself is the first step to becoming a good leader. After all, the first person he/she must guide and orient is him/herself and in this manner, he/she becomes a model to be followed by others.
Self-awareness presupposes reflection and knowing one’s own limits, knowing how to communicate when something doesn’t go as expected, knowing how to say no, and also admitting when a request or routine pattern violates your limits.
So practice daily to understand who you really are.
Social tact is another indispensable factor for someone to become a good leader. Being socially tactful means being able to establish good dialogue with different types of people and knowing when to be firm and when to be friendly, and so on.
Next, we will talk about a few characteristics of an exemplary leader related to interpersonal skills that are extremely valuable. Check it out:
Being a good leader is knowing that no one can work completely alone and that, in one way or another, you rely on other people to do a good job.
In certain cases, others will only be your co-workers, or even your customers, and there is still the possibility that they can be both.
In any case, it is essential to know that your conclusions and ideas are not universal truths and that you should listen to what others have to say (with consideration and respect).
That’s because leaders who listen to others, contribute to a more integrated, harmonious and cohesive work environment, which directly affects engagement, productivity and, of course, overall results.
This receptive posture is the key to building a healthy and inspiring leadership.
Just as knowing how to listen directly affects the authority that a leader has over her teams, it is essential to be able to express yourself objectively and clearly.
Usually, the manner in which a subject is addressed is just as important (or even more so) than if it is properly said.
For neurolinguistics, in communication, one of the basic premises is that the responsibility of dialogue always belongs to the communicator and not to the listener, in other words, in order for communication to be established successfully, the communicator should be as clear as possible. And communicating well involves much more than a good choice of words, it also involves choosing the right tone and timing to speak, one of the characteristics of a leader that can never be forgotten.
To build a healthy professional routine, it is necessary that all those involved in carrying out a task have a clear sense of the quality of the work they are developing.
Without feedback that highlights strengths and weaknesses, the professional will not have solid parameters on how to improve their own work, and it is the leader’s responsibility to provide such feedback.
Well-given feedback is always potentially constructive. Positive feedback works as extra motivation for the praised professional, while criticism works as a picture that reveals what should be remodeled or improved.
It is important to emphasize that feedback (especially negative feedback) should be given individually. After all, embarrassing an employee in front of his/her co-workers is impolite and nonconstructive.
Remember that when giving feedback, clarity and transparency are basic prerequisites.
In order to achieve any ambitious goal, it is necessary to establish clear goals that define step-by-step procedures to achieve the final goal. Establishing goals works as a kind of road map that helps a team to stay focused.
Hence, stipulating clearly defined goals is more than a differential of a good leader; it is an indispensable characteristic that he/she must develop.
Setting goals doesn’t necessarily need to be expressed in numbers (such as profits, income, etc.), but should preferably be measurable.
(Still don’t know how to do this? Read our post on show to set goals for your business.)
Professionalism involves much more than a serious posture at the workplace. It refers to our ability to manage different factors so that they don’t compromise the work being carried out, such as: humor, satisfaction, tolerance with what might not be pleasant (such as having strict hours and deadlines, relationships with co-workers, financial returns, etc.), among many other things.
Being professional also means having a well-defined personal and professional ethics. Knowing how to make the right decisions even when they are not personally advantageous (and in some cases are even disadvantageous), knowing how to respect differences and dealing with adversity without losing your composure is fundamental.
A good leader is always an example of professionalism. After all, leadership alone should be inspiring and therefore your way of acting should be admired and inspiring for those who work with you.
One of the characteristics of a leader is her thirst for knowledge, being curious, dedicated and always learning new things.
But take it easy! This doesn’t mean that you need to understand classical literature or theoretical physics to be a good leader.
Thirst for knowledge, in this case, refers to knowledge related to your area of activity .
If you work with the online marketplace, for example, it is of the utmost importance that you are always reading and researching about trends in the area, understanding the most important news and technological solutions of the moment, etc. (Extra tip: Use Google Trends to get insights into this market.)
The rule is simple: keep moving or be carried away by the tide (of sameness and mediocrity).
Note that famous entrepreneurs are those who shy away from common sense and revolutionize their market niches with new creative visions. Such was the case with Steve Jobs and the iPhone, Reed Hastings and Netflix, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, Bill Gates and Microsoft, Fred Smith and FedEx, among many others.
To stand out, you have to be unique. So study, research and dedicate yourself!
So, did you enjoy learning more about entrepreneurship and knowing the characteristics of an exemplary leader? You can also check out our post on how to be a successful entrepreneur.