Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What Makes a Great Leader?

Recently I participated in a few twitter chats that asked the question-What makes a great Leader?  What qualities does a Leader posses?  I often reflect on my practices and my daily work and see if I have certain qualities that make me an effective leader.  We as leaders talk about them each and every day without even knowing it.   Here are just a few of the characteristics of a great leader:

1. Confidence
   A great leader must have confidence in him/herself and the people that work for/with them.  Confidence to do the right thing, to say the right thing and to know they are doing what is best for the whole.  Being a micromanager doesn't show much confidence in those that you work with.  Be confident in yourself-don't be afraid to fail.  
It really bugs me when parents say they won't let their kids fail.  Yes, I am a parent and I would love nothing better than for my kid to never fail-but if they don't fail how will they even improve or learn from their mistakes or get better!??!  
A Great Leader has Confidence

2. Honesty
A Great Leader must be honest.  Not only must they be honest with their team, staff, co-workers, students, children-but they especially must be honest with themselves.  Once a person has been dishonest it is hard to recover from that.
Parents-be honest with your kids.  Be the leader in your home and tell the truth.  Can you really ever expect your kids to be honest with you if you are not honest with them?  Teachers-be honest with your kids-Does this mean that you have to tell them all your deep, dark secrets? NO! But being honest with them can gain trust and let them know you care.
A leader has to be honest with him/herself.  They have to be able to honestly be abel to look into the mirror and say, "I messed up!" or "I did the right thing."  They can't lie to themselves
A Great Leader is Honest

3. Be a Good Listenter

A Great Leader must be able to listen.  If you talk to much-STOP!  Take a breath and listen.  This goes for teachers, bosses, administrators, and parents.  Focus and Listen to what your co-worker is saying.  Do they need help?  Could you give them advice if you weren't listening?  What is my son/daughter telling me?  Did I really listen?  Can I listen while the TV is on?
Being a good listener is difficult for all of us.  We are so distracted and so many things going on in our life that we forget to stop, look and listen.  Many problems can be solved if people would just LISTEN.

A Great Leader Listens

4. Leads with Heart and Mind
A Great Leader leads with the Heart and the Mind.  They Listen to people and realize they make mistakes, they have imperfect lives and our jobs as leaders is to help them get to where they want to get.  To be a leader you have to care for people.  I mean really care for them.  As a parent-you have to LOVE your child.  If you want them to be a great individual and make good choices you have to love them.  Lead them with your heart and your mind.
The important part of this last part is to make sure you don't separate the two.  You can't lead with just your mind and you can't lead with just your heart.  The two go together-If you lead with just your heart you become to emotionally involved and don't think about the decisions you are making many times.  If you lead only with your mind you may not have full understanding of the situation. There is no emotion.

A Great Leader leads with the Heart and Mind

(I mean does it get any better than this quote!)

Good listener
Leading with the Heart and Mind

Of course there are many more qualities that make a Great Leader, but if you think about many of those others-These 4 can be seen in all them.

Remember-These can apply to any leader.  Maybe you are a husband wanting to lead your wife. Maybe you are a dad trying to lead your family.  Maybe you are a parent trying to lead your son/daughter through a tough situation at school.  Maybe you are an Administrator trying to lead your staff or a teacher trying to lead your department.  In whatever you are doing-You can be a Great Leader-don't just settle for average...

Aren't they worth it?  I know they are to me!

Have a Great Week!

@jfuhrman3932 on Twitter

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