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A leader is one whom people want to follow, not one who simply gives out orders.  Are you a leader?  Do you shine with the internal light that inspires, motivates, and transforms people around you?  Are you vulnerable, courageous, and optimistic?  These 9 characteristics of leadership will help you identify your own leadership qualities.

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1) Vision

Leaders live their vision.  They don’t need to speak about it, because they live through it, and their vision lives through them.

As the system operating in the deepest part of their brain, their vision drives their thoughts, their actions, their words.  When their vision is clear and everything that they do declares it, their followers are able to see that vision as well.  Living their vision creates the framework that allows the team to work in a common direction.  

2) Two-way communication

Leaders believe in transparency, share information, and are receptive to feedback because they are not afraid of perspectives that are not their own. 

By listening to their followers, they take the necessary steps to come closer to them; they meet them where they are so that they proactively engage in authentic, effective communication.

3) Encouragement of participation

Leaders who spur their groups to be active and eager to contribute are courageous, optimistic, and confident.

Courageous: They are not afraid of their followers’ talents.  On the contrary, they reckon that the project will benefit from them.

Optimistic: They believe in the power that open and honest discussions trigger, and the limitless possibilities that arise when ideas about the same issue come from different minds.

Confident: They know that their vision is strong enough to enact new approaches and other ways to do things.

4) Respect

Leaders don’t fear failure; they know that their own failure, or their followers’, is only a step in their path to success.

They understand that mistakes don’t define a person, and thus they respect the different learning curves and working styles that their followers bring to the team.

5) Mentoring

Leaders are generous.

They want their followers to succeed the same way that they do.  They offer their help and show others the route that led them to where they are.  But they also accept that they may choose a different route.  They expose their mistakes but they never say, ‘Don’t make the same mistakes that I did,’ because they acknowledge that making mistakes is a right for everybody. 

Mentoring is not teaching, but illuminating.  Leaders share what they know but don’t make their followers accept it as the sole truth.

6) Empowerment of followers

Leaders are the visible head of a project that also has legs, muscles, and a heart.  Leaders who nurture the individual power within each one of their followers have stronger bodies to achieve success.

Because when they contribute to their followers’ autonomy, they find their own ways to drive the organic success of the project.

7) Inspiration

Leaders generate bright thoughts and creativity in their followers.

As a tune that makes one feel like dancing, your galvanizing communication and the strength of your vision kindle new ideas and excitement in your team.  And because creative thinking is a habit, both leader and team are quick on their feet to spark ways to solve problems when they come.

Leaders don’t fear failure; they know that their own failure, or their followers’, is only a step in their path to success.

8) Motivation

Leaders understand what makes their followers move, and reward them in the way they need.

Does challenge motivate them?  Then give them the most difficult tasks.  Do they thrive in high-pressure?  Then assign them to last-minute projects.  Are they thrilled by perfection?  Then ask them to revise the work of others.

9) Transformation

Leaders transform their followers and allow their followers to transform them in return.  They welcome change as the natural way to grow.

Leadership is a relationship between you and your followers, in which both parties end up changed: you take from your followers and your followers take from you.  Through great leadership, you become comfortable with vulnerability and flexibility as a constant evolution into a better version of yourself.

 

I am a Spanish linguist, voice coach and writer who has come to New York to learn more about communication in the business world – I’m a Graduate Student at New York University, in the program of Public Relations and Corporate Communications.  My passion is writing: words, stories, characters.  I’m also an adventurous cook, and I make my own bread – with my hands.

 

 

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