leadership-913043_960_720Some leaders are born, as the saying goes. For the rest of us, thankfully, there are qualities we can learn to assist us in becoming a person that others will follow. It’s important to realize, first, that just because you are chosen to lead, that doesn’t make you a great leader. However, it is in your best interest to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses in this area as soon as possible.

If you’re not certain, check out these qualities below, and ask yourself whether you possess these characteristics or could improve:

Great Leaders Are:

  1. Proactive
    This is, perhaps, the most foundational quality necessary for leadership. As someone in charge of inspiring others, you can’t wait for things to happen. Instead, you must come to the table with ideas, plans, and what it will take to reach the end goal. Furthermore, you should readily anticipate problems that may come as a result and be fully prepared with solutions to address them. People will look to you and trust your judgment when they see you’ve thought things through and have taken the first step.
  2. Listeners
    With that said, it’s equally important for you to listen to suggestions from those with great ideas or more expertise in a given area, advisers if you will. Great leadership is as much about listening as it is sharing. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should be easily swayed. Rather, you should hear alternatives and, based on your own wisdom and assessment of all related parts, be able to make a decision that is best. Inc. Magazine put it this way, be open-minded yet decisive. I could not say it any better.
  3. Focused
    It is easy to get distracted, especially as someone with multiple responsibilities to juggle. However, you should always remain focused on the task at hand as well as the end goal. Remind others of it, and be there to clarify if necessary. Those on your team may, but you cannot afford to get sidetracked when it comes to the project and goals for the business.
  4. Imaginative
    Much of business deals in realistic terms, for understandable reasons. Yet, as a leader, you have the opportunity to do more than play by the rules of what’s been done. Great leaders imagine something different altogether, which leads to greater efficiency, a better product, or new industry, all of which result in increased revenue. Simply put: think beyond the constraints of where you are and have the foresight to see what can be.
  5. Committed to Learning
    This is the last point, but certainly not the least. No one person knows everything. Thus, you should be committed to learning and constant professional development, both within and outside of your given area of business. Reading, conferences, and simply networking with others will provide you with opportunities to grow. As you do, apply your knowledge; everyone benefits as a result.