Guest post from Brian Tracy, coauthor of 12 Disciplines of Leadership Excellence.
There have been more than three thousand studies conducted over the years aimed at identifying the qualities of successful leaders, especially successful military leaders who have won important battles against great odds in turbulent theaters of warfare – which very much describes succeeding in the marketplaces of today.
More than 50 qualities have been identified that are important to leadership. But there are six qualities that seem to stand out as being more important than the others. The good news is that each of these qualities can be learned, and they must be learned by practice and repetition.
1. Vision: The Most Important Single Quality of Leadership
Leaders have vision. They can see into the future. They have a clear, exciting idea of where they are going and what they are trying to accomplish. This quality separates them from managers. Having a clear vision turns the individual into a special type of person.
This quality of vision changes a “transactional manager” into a transformational leader.” While a manager gets the job done, a true leader taps into the emotions of his people.
2. Courage: The Second Quality That Leaders Have in Common
The quality of courage means that you are willing to take risks in the achievement of your goals with no assurance of success.
Because there is no certainty in life or business, every commitment you make and every action you take entails a risk of some kind. This is why courage is the most identifiable outward quality of a great leader.
3. Integrity: The Most Respected and Admired Quality of Superior People and Leaders
In every strategic planning session that I have conducted for large and small corporations, the first value that all the gathered executives agree upon for their company is integrity. They all agree on the importance of complete honesty in everything they do, both internally and externally.
The core of integrity is truthfulness. Integrity requires that you always tell the truth, to all people, in every situation. Truthfulness is the foundation quality of the trust that is necessary for the success of any business.
4. Humility: Leaders Have the Security and Self- Confidence to Recognize the Value of Others
The best leaders are those who are strong and decisive but also humble. Humility doesn’t mean that you’re weak or unsure of yourself. It means that you have the self-confidence and self-awareness to recognize the value of others without feeling threatened. It means that you are willing to admit you could be wrong, that you recognize you may not have all the answers. And it means that you give credit where credit is due.
5. Foresight: Leaders Have the Ability to Look into the Future and Anticipate What Might Occur
Excellent leaders are good strategic thinkers. They have the ability to look ahead, to anticipate with some accuracy where the industry and the markets are going.
Leaders have the ability to anticipate trends, well in advance of their competitors. They continually ask, “Based on what is happening today, where is the market going? Where is it likely to be in three months, six months, one year, and two years?”
6. Focus: The Ability to Focus Energies and Resources in the Most Important Areas
Leaders always focus on the needs of the company and the situation. Leaders focus on the strengths of the organization, on the things that the company does best in satisfying demanding customers in a competitive marketplace.
Your ability as a leader to call the shots and make sure that everyone is focused and concentrated on the most valuable use of their time is essential to the excellent performance of the enterprise.
Most of the time, leaders think about the qualities of leadership and how to apply them daily. Leaders have a clear vision of where they are going, and they convey this vision to everyone around them. The most important contribution you can make to your company is to be a leader, accept responsibility for results, and dare to go forward.
Brian Tracy is one of the top professional speakers in the world on the subjects of personal and business success, marketing, sales, and time management. He has given more than 5,000 talks and seminars in 58 countries. As the author of more than 50 books covering the entire spectrum of individual and business success, Brian Tracy has appeared on more than 5,000 television and radio shows worldwide.