Whenever I’m asked the question, “Who is someone I consider a great leader?” I find myself having a difficult time selecting a single person. Many names come to mind and all for a variety of reasons, but I rarely have one single person who I could name as the one person I consider the greatest leader. I have pondered the meaning of this. It has made me wonder if I’m possibly cynical or even jaded by previous experiences of disillusionment, but then I realized that the reason really is because I’ve been privileged to be surrounded by many great leaders and that it’s difficult to select only one.
In recent months, I’ve been exposed to more highly influential executive leaders than ever before. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from each of them. There are common characteristics are represented by each of them.
1. Clarity of call: know what their giftedness and calling is and have aligned their activities to suit.
2. Entrepreneurial: thinking of new ways to do things to make a more significant impact. Even if they are working in a structured environment, they seek new ways to achieve results.
3. Purposeful: they are driven to want to make an impact on culture. They are about so much more than the job or project. They are about the “so that” they can make an impact and bring about transformation.
4. Affirming: they encourage, affirm and bring out the positive traits in those around them.
5. Caring: they genuinely care about people. Their inner circle of people that they invest key time into may be small, thereby enabling them to fulfill the mandate of their work, but they truly care about those they invest into.
6. Focused: this is a common trait in the lives of each of these very busy leaders. They are focused on what they have called to do. They know what to say no to and they know what to say yes to. They focus and that focus pays off.
7. Fun-loving: these leaders enjoy a good laugh and making the most of life.
A successful leader stays in a position of always being a good student of leadership. It's important to take what we can from good examples of leadership, and use bad examples of leadership as an opportunity to learn. It helps us to know what to do and what not to do.
Different situations call for different types of leadership. Surround yourself with leaders you respect and allow them to influence and to speak into your life. You will be impacted. Forever.
Written by Karen Schenk