As a wedding photographer do you ever feel like you’re the one in charge? I have had this happen many times throughout the years. Photographers not only take great pictures, they also lead and direct, ensuring the wedding day runs as smoothly as possible. What qualities give a person the ability to lead with confidence and grace? Exceptional leaders share certain characteristics that make them outstanding. Here are 5 characteristics they all have in common.
5 Characteristics Of A Good Leader
1. Great Leaders Grow
Effective leaders are constantly learning and broadening their horizons. They invest in themselves, and by doing so, are then able to more fully give to others. They set short and long-term goals and work hard to accomplish them. When they fall short, they don’t beat themselves up or quit. They view failures as learning experiences, and take away valuable lessons from these humbling experiences. They know failure is simply a stepping stone to knowledge and wisdom.
Those who invest in themselves have higher self esteem, and value themselves more. This, in turn, makes it easier to see others more favorably. It’s not possible to give from an empty well, and great leaders know this. They invest in themselves in many ways:
- Practical leaders value their own opinions and don’t depend on others to make decisions for them.
- Intelligent leaders believe that hard work requires persistence and dedication even on their down days. They don’t give up!
- Capable leaders make time for creativity as they know this brings balance to their lives, and makes them more interesting.
- Interesting leaders are constantly learning, believing that knowledge is power.
- Responsible leaders make time for self-care. They realize the importance of proper nutrition, exercise and rest if they are going to reach their potential.
- Gifted leaders nurture relationships and believe that emotional health is necessary in order to influence others.
- Self-directed people are givers. They sincerely want the best for others.
- Incredible leaders believe in a higher power. They know they can’t go it alone.
Here’s a great read on How to Master the Four Critical Areas of Being a Great Leader. Another interesting book is Emotional Intelligence 2.0.
2. Passion Is A Plus
Passion is a trait accomplished leaders share. It’s difficult to achieve goals without passion. Passion brings committed leaders through the inherent set backs and storms we all experience. It also fuels purpose, another essential element of success. It takes energy to achieve great things, and without passion, energy falters.
When a group chooses a leader to direct them, whom will they choose? The person brimming with purpose and passion, or one who possesses neither? A brilliant leader infuses those they serve with this same passion and positivity that they themselves possess. They motivate, inspire, and instill in others the will and drive to succeed.
A leader brings about change, knows others are counting on them, and takes their responsibilities seriously. They are visionaries and instill this vision in those they serve.
3. Leaders Make Things Happen
Without decisiveness, dedicated leadership isn’t possible. That is why we want responsible leaders in our government, to make sound decisions for us as a nation.
Leaders come in all shapes and sizes, but a critical characteristic all inspirational leaders share, is the ability to think rationally, and act quickly.
Once they make an informed decision, they commit to it, and carry it through. These committed leaders exercise a high degree of consistency, having their eye on the mark, while being flexible when necessary.
They persevere when things don’t go as planned, and come up with alternate courses of action. Essentially, they get the job done even when things look bleak. Gifted leaders emulate other great leaders, and learn from them. They don’t boast in their own abilities, realizing they have limited knowledge, and don’t know it all. They also welcome input from those they serve.
4. Team Work Is Essential
“We’re all in this together so let’s pull together and make this work!” is a phrase team leaders live by. They don’t exert power over those they lead, but value every person’s perspective and opinion. Everyone is equal in their eyes. This applies to any situation or group of people they work within. They are authentic, and you’ll see this in their personal lives as well. What you see is what you get. They aren’t chameleons showing different faces just to suit their needs.
Extraordinary leaders don’t keep secrets, but are transparent and forthcoming with pertinent information. They aren’t out for personal gain, but desire the best for everyone. These leaders, lovingly teach and correct when needed, seeing the behavior as separate from the person. This inspires trust and loyalty. They don’t reprove or criticize, but teach a better way. They encourage others to work together to achieve goals, forming an enduring bond.
They don’t play favorites, but treat everyone with the same respect, promoting trust and loyalty in those they lead. Beloved leaders are not created overnight, but work at developing the skills they know will make them great. They are compelled to be outstanding.
5. Courage And Humility
Although rare, courage and humility are requisite virtues for effectual leadership. Of course, as we all know, it’s certainly possible to lead without humility, we see it all the time. In fact, it’s more the norm than not. When a leader is humble, putting their own self interests aside for the greater good, their leadership skills are taken to a whole new level.
Amazing leaders don’t cower at criticism, but rather, view it has a way to learn, grow, and improve. They honor the responsibility placed upon them, and have a high degree of accountability, expecting the same from those they lead. Their strong wills and big-picture thinking gets them through tough times.
Great leaders learn from their mistakes, and don’t take themselves too seriously. They laugh at themselves, and transform their hard-earned lessons into wisdom. Great leaders go the extra mile, and give all they have. An innovative leader embraces new opportunities and new ways of doing things. They are always on the cutting edge.
These 5 characteristics of a good leader, not only make a leader memorable, but beloved. The world would be a better place if we had more of these impressive people in it. Exceptional leaders are made not born. While it’s true they may be born with innate abilities to serve, their hard work, commitment, and dedication allow them to be the best version of themselves. They reach their highest potential by developing the qualities that lead to greatness.
How many of these characteristics of a good leader do you have? Which ones would you like to cultivate more? Let me know in the comments:)