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Characteristics of the Most Successful Leaders, Part 3

The most successful leaders influence themselves and others to find and fulfill their purpose in life and at work.  In this series, we are sharing the 30 characteristics of the most successful leaders.

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For Part 1 of Characteristics of the Most Successful Leaders click here.

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For Part 2 of Characteristics of the Most Successful Leaders click here.

Before you’re a leader, it is all about helping yourself grow. When you are a leader, it’s all about helping others grow. The bottom line in leadership isn’t how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others. The most successful leaders influence themselves and others to find and fulfill their purpose in life and at work.  In this series, we are sharing the 30 characteristics of the most successful leaders. In the past two months, I shared the first 20 and below are the final 10.

21. Care Deeply

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. The best leaders care deeply about their people, personally and professionally, and their team knows it.

22. FearLess

Great leaders fear less and try more, so they fail more, learn more, live more and succeed more.  Too often, people quit before they try, because they are afraid to fail. “Just do it” is the mantra for the most successful leaders because they realize that the only guarantee for failure is not trying. Being fearless isn’t due to the absence of fears; it’s trying your best in spite of your fears. Fearless is getting back up and fighting for what and who you believe in, over and over again, regardless of what others think.

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23. Encouragement

Great leaders recognize and appreciate their people and their work. They appreciate people for who they are and not just what they do for you. They spend less time trying to catch people doing something wrong and instead try to catch them doing something right — and then they appreciate and encourage them, often in public, to promote positive and productive behavior.

24. No Ego

Great leaders realize it’s not about “me,” it’s about “we.” Instead of growing a big head, great leaders focus on helping their people grow. They bring the best out of people rather than telling everyone that they are the best. They accomplish more because they don’t waste time talking about everything they have accomplished.

25. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Great leaders don’t major in minor things, and they don’t sweat the small stuff. They focus on making big problems small rather than turning small problems into big ones. They know when to direct and when to correct, but they do it when it matters most and not on the “small stuff.”

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26. See the Best in Others

Great leaders bring out the best in people because they see the best in them. They see their potential and inspire and educate them to use their talents to achieve it. While they appreciate their people, they also challenge them to fulfill their potential by using their talents to become the best version of themselves, which is often better than they ever thought they could become.

27. Humility

Great leaders know they don’t have all the answers, so they are eager to learn from others. They ask the right people the right questions and they listen well. They are humble and hungry students who constantly learn from others and are always trying to improve. They don’t waste time seeking credit but instead give it to others. They are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and constantly strive to improve themselves and those around them. They are generous with their power and praise, include others in the decision-making process and give credit and praise to their team.

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28. Great Communicators

Leaders have traditionally been valued for their communication and decision-making ability. They are clear communicators who inspire, challenge, direct, encourage, convince and compel people to action. While the best leaders have these skills, they are also great listeners. They are genuinely interested in what others think and are always seeking to learn and grow, so they listen intently so they can apply it to their lives. As a result, they make better decisions and communicate better with others because people respect and listen to leaders who respect and listen to them.

29. Responsible

The only way to improve our life and others is to take responsibility for how we think and act. Great leaders admit when they are wrong and they fix problems fast whether they created them or not. “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them,” said John Maxwell. The turning point for every leader is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes and actions because then and only then can we change them.

30. Healer

Great leaders don’t accept division amongst their people. They seek to heal broken relationships because they recognize the importance of maintaining a positive chemistry amongst their people. They deal with issues head on and encourage their teams to take responsibility, to apologize and forgive so they can resolve and move forward together. As a result, they turn disagreements into opportunities to improve communications that often creates stronger bonds than if an issue never occurred.

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The greatest leaders know their purpose in life and they help others achieve theirs. They are not solely interested in making a living; they are driven to make a difference in the lives of others. As a result, they build healthier cultures and more-productive businesses that generate a bigger bottom line and a happier workplace for themselves and the people they work with. I hope that these leadership insights help you improve the impact you have in the lives of the people you serve.

Sean Wolfington

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