When I did a quick internet search for “leadership,” I received 842 million results in less than a second. More often than not, people tend to associate leadership with individuals such as military generals, politicians, sports coaches, or business owners. However, I believe leaders come in many different shapes, sizes, and job levels. In essence, anybody can become a leader in their way. To quote Simon Sinek, “if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
When I think about a leader, I must make a conscious, willing and voluntary choice to follow that person. That decision, for me, is not quickly given away. I bet the same is true for most people.
So, what are the qualities I look for in a leader before I choose to follow them? My top three are humility, integrity, and positivity.
A lot of times, people associate leadership with power. Unfortunately, power tends to corrupt. I’ve found that humble leaders create a team where everybody feels included. Humility fosters an environment of empowering people which in turn leads to courageous acts such as taking risks for the greater good and holding people accountable for their results. When the leader is “one of us,” the members are more apt to engage in fantastic teamwork such as going beyond the call of duty and helping out others when needed.
A leader’s team is usually a direct reflection of the values they embody. To me, no trait is more important than integrity. I associate integrity with honor, honesty, and having high moral principles. As my father taught me growing up, it’s never wrong to do the right thing, no matter the situation. Integrity includes treating people with respect and being accountable for not only the leader’s actions but also those of their team.
To achieve a team’s goals, they must have a culture of optimism. As with anything in life, you will experience the highs and lows associated with working on any task. Positive energy will keep the train moving forward when the inevitable hills and valleys are encountered. Being positive is a choice, and it is infectious (in a good way) when it is genuine.
What qualities do you embrace in a leader?