Rare Qualities That Make Leaders Outstanding
Leaders – what makes one stand out in a sea of other leaders? It’s the rare qualities they possess!
Leading is complex role that requires a multitude of skills no matter what role you lead in – as a parent, small business owner, or the president of the United States!
The prerequisite to leading others successfully is leading yourself well! So, whether your lead thousands or you just lead you, the qualities that make you to stand out are…
1. Excellent Character
At the root of the word character is the word “charassein” – a Greek word that means to scratch or engrave. Your character is what is “scratched or etched” into you. It’s what marks and shapes you.
Leading well entails developing and continually developing your character. You are a character and you have character. And as a leader you also leave a “mark” on those around you and ideally play a role in transforming their character for the better.
Having character revolves around understanding both your strengths and your weaknesses and knowing that you are a work in progress – a person whose story is not yet finished.
Character is shaped by what you think, which in turn shaped how you feel, and leads to the actions you take and ultimately the results you get.
Leading with character is not about what you do, but how you do it. How is your character influencing the way you go about parenting, running your business, leading the non-profit, or serving on that board?
Just a few of the many, many desirable character traits that serve a leader well:
Your character, good, bad, or somewhere in between, is the sum of your habits. Put another way, it is what you habitually do or don’t do.
Also encompassed in character are your motives – why you do what you do.
Your character is not dependent on circumstances or outside forces – it’s who you are in the storm. It’s what you do when no one is watching. It’s how you respond.
2. Living Your Values
What’s most important to you are what make up your values. They serve as a guide for how you will invest your precious time and energy. I’ve covered this topic in detail here so I won’t elaborate further now except to say that your values dramatically influence the way you lead.
The English word for integrity is rooted in the Latin word “integritas” which means complete, wholeness, or coherent. Words like integrated or integral may spring to mind.
A leader operates with integrity when their actions, decisions, and ways of interacting with others are congruent with their character and values. You are a leader with integrity when the story your words tell are in keeping with your actions – consistent with the way those around you experience you.
The opposite of integrity: hypocrisy.
Leaders fall short when their actions are inconsistent with their character and/or values.
While the rare leader isn’t perfect, they do acknowledge their mistakes, take ownership, and do what’s necessary to make situations right. No blaming, shaming, or wriggling out of it.
4. Being Self-Aware
God commands us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) The implication is that you love yourself and that you love others in that very same way.
If you have negative feelings towards yourself or struggle to love you, then it’s nearly impossible to love others. The outstanding leader is not puffed up about themselves. They know they are deeply loved by God and forgiven making possible for them to accept themselves and in turn accept others.
The self-aware leader recognizes how dependent they are on God and how much they need Him every day! And that’s a very good place to be!
You are a self-aware leader when you…
- Know what makes you unique and special – your personality, strengths, weaknesses, and the special skills and abilities that come naturally to you.
- Are able to tap into your feelings and you know what you need.
- Spot patterns of responding.
- Know your real motivations.
- Recognize fear at work and choose to move forward anyway.
When you think of leaders, you might think of someone who is charismatic and out front, but leaders are often not the ones in the spotlight, but the ones eagerly serving others behind the scenes. For them, the goal is not glory, but doing whatever is necessary to serve and empowering others is where their energies flow.
And since serving is their focus, they eagerly listen to the suggestions, ideas, and the feedback of others. They interact in ways that honor and value others. And they know how to mend relationships when are the inevitable misunderstandings occur.
A certain level of curiosity is necessary to serve others well. They naturally want to know and understand what energizes their people. They are eager to hear about their goals, dreams, how they want to grow, and more!
Even the rare leader’s way of communicating reflects their heart to serve. They serve with empathy and compassion.
Having a servant’s heart does not mean that an outstanding leader isn’t confident. They are more than willing to make the tough calls and take the big risks. When decisions don’t pan out well, they take responsibility!
Confidence is contagious! When leaders are confident, they are more willing to develop other leaders, more open, and they create level of security that is reassuring.
Their confidence also enables them to prioritize, be decisive, cast compelling vision, and more.
Nothing breaks trust quicker than not doing what you said you would do! The outstanding leader is someone you can count on. They do what they say they are going to do and they follow up and follow through. Consistency is also a key factor in successfully reaching goals.
Harry S. Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”
Today, there are dozens of ways of growing and developing yourself as a person and as a leader. in addition to reading, you might consider…
- In person, virtual, or online training
- Being a part of mastermind
- Attending conferences
- Participating in a webinar or workshop
- Being a part of a Bible study
- Taking a class in an area of interest – painting, gardening, cooking, etc.
- Finding a mentor
- Working with a coach
No matter how experienced you are as a leader, there’s still room to grow! And when you learn new things personally it naturally benefits you as a leader even if you are learning something for fun!
The leaders who stand out aren’t the leaders up on a pedestal. Nope! They are the leaders who are authentic, real, and vulnerable. They stand out because being vulnerable is brave, risky, and scary. It’s the vulnerable leader that is also a relatable leader – the one who is it easier to trust and gives everyone around them permission to be real too!
That doesn’t mean that the outstanding leader puts his or her whole life out there for the world to see like a reality star. It’s about wisely sharing the right information with the right people at the right time. That takes a level of discernment, wisdom, and courage!
Leaders have a reputation for being lone rangers and having a bit of “I can do it myself” in them, but that’s certainly not what enables an outstanding leader to stand out!
It’s the leaders who have discovered how to lead themselves well that shine bright! Leaders that possess the qualities above ultimately stand out in a crowd. That’s the leader that powerfully influences and inspires others to follow their example and that’s what leading is all about!
In whatever capacity you lead, what qualities are you in need of in order to stand out?
What qualities would you add to the list?
Leave a Comment