As we explore the various types of strength and jump into some rethinking waters and reconsider our approach to understanding what strength is (and where you can find some), let’s delve in and take a look at what types of strengths a great leader should possess.
But before we begin, we must preface this by saying this article isn’t going to be filled with the obvious. You’ve probably seen this type of headline before. “A Leader Must Do This” or “10 Awesome Strengths Awesome Leaders are Awesome At Doing.” And when you click it and start reading, the article states merits and virtues that are no-brainers: For instance:
“Great leaders are great at communication.” Well, no shit they’re great at communicating. They’re a great leader and it’s because they are properly communicating with everyone!
“A great leader is committed.” Of course, they’re committed. They’ve chosen to proceed on as said leader because they are in it for the win.
And one of my personal favorites, “A great leader is one who is fearless.” Shut the front door (circa 2006). I’ve never seen a great leader who cowers in the corner.
It takes a certain type of person who can lead; someone who possesses the obvious like being great at communication and being organized and one who can properly delegate. It takes more than having a positive attitude and being honest and inspiring. These qualities are expected and vital. These are some additional qualities that some of the greatest leaders in history have possessed:
They Can Accept Failure & Learn From It
Steve Jobs is the epitome of being a “comeback kid.” Jobs got canned and kicked to the curb by Apple, the company he co-founded with his best friend Steve Wozniak. And what happened? He learned from it and it was a major turning point in his life and his career. He shared the following with the audience during a Stanford commencement speech:
“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”
He accepted this failure, moved on, bought a little company called Pixar, started the computer company NeXT, and got his job back with Apple. He learned from it all and then led Apple down the tree-lined road to technological advancement and success.
They Have Compassion For Others
Ernesto “Che” Guevara is considered a highly politicized and controversial figure and is one of the greatest leaders of all time. A standout characteristic he possessed was having compassion for others. We’ve all had that boss or have had to work under someone who wasn’t afraid of showing just how little they care about you, your feelings, your live or your overall happiness and growth. They are in it for themselves with their selfish ways and habits. This selfishness and lack of empathy are not just harmful to the team and damaging to one’s mental health. And if you read our article about how stress affects the body and brain, you know no good comes from a leader who shows they don’t care. It causes extreme stress. “The true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.” ~ Che Guevara
They Don’t Need A Constant Spotlight
What is the difference between a catfish and a narcissist?
One’s a bottom-crawling scum sucker, and the other’s just a fish.
All jokes aside, narcissists exist and they are often in leadership roles. Why is that? Harvard Business Review summed it up perfectly in their online article, Narcissistic Leaders: The Incredible Pros, the Inevitable Cons with “They have compelling, even gripping, visions for companies, and they have an ability to attract followers.” But on the flipside to that, HBR also states that narcissistic leaders listen only for the kind of information they seek and they don’t learn easily from others. They are sensitive to criticism and given their difficulty with knowing or acknowledging their own feelings, they are uncomfortable with other people expressing theirs—especially their negative feelings. That takes us back to great leaders requiring a level of empathy and compassion for others.
Great leaders also give credit when credit is due. They don’t take all the brilliant ideas from their team and make it their own or pawn them off onto others as their “moment of wisdom.” They aren’t afraid and are always willing to say, “That idea actually came from one of our newest team members named Marcia. We are really fortunate to have her and her great ideas, and we’re thrilled you like this idea as well.
They Have A Sense of Humor
“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” This quote comes from Dwight D. Eisenhower. First and foremost, a great leader doesn’t need to be telling knock-knock jokes 24/7, but they do need to keep the people they are leading happy, and what better way to do that than with a good sense of humor. Someone who can let loose and have a good chuckle. Someone who isn’t stiff, stuffy and all business all the time who can display to their team that they are human and not BossTron5000.
They Are A Positive Role Model
Never put your employees or team members in a position where they have to make excuses for your actions. Don’t ever let your actions embarrass those who are working for and under you. The worst thing you can do to your team is your unprofessional behavior. Remember this, if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. We didn’t come up with that. John Quincy Adams did.