Leadership is not about your place on the organizational chart. It’s about the way you approach your work. Leadership can and must happen at every level in an organization.
Whether you have official responsibilities for managing people or not, you are capable of providing leadership to people within your organization. So don’t just look to your boss for leadership, look to yourself.
In his bestselling 2003 book Authentic Leadership, Bill George (Former Chairman and CEO of Medtronic) introduces the concept of authentic leadership in response to the corruption of leaders at organizations like Enron and Arthur Andersen.
George advocates for a new generation of genuine and ethical business leaders. He calls for leaders to be committed to stewardship of their organization’s assets and to making a difference in the lives of the people that they serve.
The notion of authentic leadership empowers working women to be true to who they are, without believing they need to become someone they are not. It calls women to be true to their core values. Authentic leadership is one of many characteristics that great leaders have in common.
I’ve compiled a list of another 20 characteristics that in my experience, distinguish the great leaders from the average leaders. Some of the characteristics are applicable only to leaders who manage people, but others are applicable to leaders at every level of an organization. After the top two spots, the list appears in no particular order of preference or importance.
A GREAT LEADER
- inspires others.
- has integrity.
- expects top performance in others because she demands it of herself.
- makes a personal connection with the people that she leads.
- is a relentless advocate for her high performing employees.
- helps create and nurture great teams.
- makes tough, and sometimes unpopular, decisions.
- seeks honest, constructive, and frequent feedback about herself.
- gives honest, constructive, and frequent feedback to others.
- re-energizes her mind and body with time away from work. She can not inspire people when she is mentally or physically exhausted.
Read the other ten characteristics and more about inspirational leadership
in How To Become Successful Without Becoming a Man.