For over 10 years I have studied leadership and gained hands on experience leading. Those years have taught me the essential keys that separate the successful (great) leaders from unsuccessful (good or bad) leaders. I have found several keys that will allow a person to become successful and effective within a leadership position. If you know and adapt the keys into your life, I believe you will be on your way to achieving your maximum leadership potential.
Successful leadership starts with influence. Influence is defined as “the capacity or power of a person to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc. of others.” You have the ability to have or gain positive or negative influence. Positive influence will allow a person to lead effectively while negative influence will eventually lead to the downfall of a leader, or a lack of commitment or dedication from your people. Those who fail to gain positive influence will fail in a leadership role. Positive influence is crucial when it comes to successful leadership. Increase your influence by leading yourself well, maintaining a positive attitude, and inspiring people through action.
Trust is foundational to leadership. It’s important to remember, trust takes time to build but it can be lost in a second. World Champaign Tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “Trust has to be earned, and should come only after the passage of time.” Chose to trust the people around you and let your actions and words show that you are a trustworthy leader. When you do, your people will be 100 percent committed and dedicated to you and your vision. The key is to earn the trust of your people and do whatever you can to protect that trust. This will position you toward being a successful leader.
Successful leaders communicate and live out a compelling vision. Theodore Hesburgh said, “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” Great leaders understand that vision leaks so they take advantage of every opportunity to communicate it to their people. In essence they over-communicate the vision. They inspire action toward the vision by telling stories and painting pictures in the minds of their people about a bigger and better future. When the vision is alive it will fuel the team to achieve the individual results and goals that will allow everyone to move closer to accomplishing the organizational vision.
Question: Can you add to the list? What are some other keys to successful leadership?