Attributes of a Great Leader

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Attributes of a Great Leader

Extraordinary leaders believe in people and the outcomes they can produce together. Remarkable leaders are strong in several key attributes. Here are some key qualities that every leader should possess, and learn to emphasize.

Accountabilityleader
Great leaders take responsibility for everyone’s performance… they are responsible. Accountability takes many forms: our own personal accountability, the collective accountability of our team, and the leadership skill of holding people accountable. The best leaders make expectations clear, check in on progress, follow up, and monitor the effectiveness of projects and procedures. When problems arise, powerful leaders identify those problems, take ownership of them, seek solutions, and redirect their team back on track to success.

Alignment
Strong leaders bring consensus to their projects. Building consensus is when two or more persons on teams share a common goal – they are aligned. Alignment doesn’t just happen, it is created. Exemplary leaders know when to check in and to confirm alignment. For example, when both the creative team and the sales team are presenting to a client, it is important to align the goals and content of the presentation, encourage each person to become an expert in her part, and then bring the whole team together to practice delivering the presentation. Leaders inspire their team to align around working together instead of individually. Ultimately, the creative team and sales team naturally complement one another, yet it takes alignment to come together.

Adaptability
Effective leaders stay open to new possibilities and will adapt and adjust to new situations that arise. Adaptability requires having a flexible communication style. Ask for ideas instead of always being the one to generate the idea. Facilitate discussions such as “What happens if we don’t do this?”, “What are we ignoring or forgetting?”, or “How do you think you do in responding to the demands in the moment?” Your ability to adapt brings out the best in your team.

About the Author:

Ellen Dunnigan founded Accent On Business in 2001 specializing in public speaking, communication skills, and executive presence for leaders in business. She has 25 years of experience with professional and nonprofessional speakers in healthcare, media, politics, engineering, sports, and other industries. Ellen’s coaching in speaking skills gives established and emerging leaders greater confidence and credibility. Her leadership programs in accountability, alignment, difficult conversations, and organizational communication have helped leaders expand their influence. Ellen is known for her practical “how to” style.
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