John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” That one statement sure packs a punch.
Effective leaders all possess similar strengths. Discipline, focus, enthusiasm, commitment, and limitless energy are all characteristics displayed with strong leadership. Leaders are hard chargers who operate with a clear sense of direction and are generally successful in getting people to follow. After all you can’t be a leader without followers.
And then there are great leaders. Those individuals who not only are able to get people to follow, but who inspire them to go beyond what they ever dreamed possible. The great leaders understand the human condition. They thrive on people engagement and behavioral observations. They realize that all people are unique and therefore respond differently even when faced with the exact same circumstances. It is the great leaders’ ability to shape their message in a way that reaches and resonates across a large group of people. But it’s more than their message. A great leader is able to not just create a compelling message (vision) but make it believable by the actions and characteristics they demonstrate daily.
Great leaders play at a higher level than regular leaders. They’re the All-Stars. The one-of-a-kinds. The most sought after individuals that people want to meet with, get to know, or work for. What separates the good from the great are 3 capabilities the leader must demonstrate daily:
- Clarity of vision. Great leaders know where they are headed and how to get there. It’s crystal clear to them on the inside which makes it easier to communicate outside. They have a superior sense of direction and know where their own True North setting is which can be felt by those following. This clarity of vision demonstrates their confidence and conviction in the actions they take and ask others to take.
- Teaching. Great leaders are teachers. They get energy from meeting with people and sharing their knowledge, perspective and beliefs. They realize that to be great teachers they must commit themselves to being a life-long learner. Constantly reading, asking questions, listening, and engaging in the exchange of ideas allows great leaders to capture the hearts and minds of their followers.
- Motivation. Great leaders provide reasons to act. Through their vision and teaching, they inspire people to take action and begin the journey. Great leaders know how to motivate those around them by recognizing the differences in people and what drives individual behavior. Even the great leader him/her-self requires motivation whether it’s spiritual, family, personal or professional they have their own reasons for taking action.
So who are you? A leader, or a great leader? Where do you fall relative to the 3 must-have capabilities of a great leader? You’ve already taken steps to improve your Teaching skills by reading this blog…and I assume others. Remember, if you can dream more, do more and become more, others will follow.