Everyone has a different definition of what it takes to be a great leader. However, I've had a lot of experience working with leaders of all types, and I can tell you that having seen these leaders succeed AND fail, I've developed a good idea of what makes certain leaders stand out as GREAT leaders. Below is a list of what I consider to be the top behaviors of great leaders:
1. Acts Transparently:
Tell the truth! Be open with your coworkers and clients. Don't try and distort facts to make you or your company appear to be something it isn't. If you're honest with others, they may just reciprocate.
2. Communicates Effectively:
Effective communication is the art of understanding and being understood. Great leaders understand this and work hard at applying this in all of their interactions with others.
To learn more, read our post, "How to: Effective Communication in the Workplace."
3. Respects Others:
One of the most important areas of leadership is to show others respect and to gain respect. Respect and leadership work together. If you are not admired or respected, your leadership will be weak, and performance will suffer.
4. Acknowledges and Corrects His Errors:
One of my favorite business authors, Jim Collins said it best: "Level 5 leaders build enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will." If you mess up, acknowledge it, and take the steps towards correcting it. Don't try to pretend it didn't happen; we are human, and everyone messes up from time to time. As long as you take steps towards correcting your errors, then the people around you will respect you more for it.
5. Achieves Results:
Of course, a good leader is the type of individual who sets goals and achieves them. It is one thing to do a “task”; it is the great leader who creates results.
6. Actively Listens:
One of my favorite quotes on communication comes from Norm Augustine, a former CEO of Lockheed Martin. He said, “We’ve all heard the criticism, ‘He talks too much.’ When was the last time you heard someone criticized for listening too much?"
7. Sets Clear Expectations:
If you’re running a race, and you don’t know where the finish line is, how will you know when you’re done running the race? The biggest reason people fail to succeed in their jobs is that employers fail to clearly define success in the role. Great leaders set clear expectations for their people.
To learn more about setting clear expectations, download our free ebook, The Peak Performance Profile: the Job Description of the Future.
8. Never Stops Learning:
A great leader is always seeking new opportunities to better himself. He reads the latest business books. He takes formal training courses. He subscribes to his peer's blogs and newsletters. A great leader will develop feedback systems and use the feedback towards a constructive end in order to better himself and his company.
What behaviors would you add to this list?