It could be easily said that a great leader is someone who possess a vision and the courage to follow through, who has integrity, honesty, humility and continues to be focused in the face of adversity. Though, it is evident with the great leaders from history, that there are no similar traits that defines the greatness of a leader.
Leadership is essential for a well-oiled organization and though it is often identifiable in practice it is difficult to accurately describe. It cannot be defined by an individual’s characteristics, by their upbringing, education or social skills. There is not always a motive to achieve or the need for power and it cannot be classed as a by-product of success. Leaders are mostly self made and are only as good as their willingness to develop daily. It may not always show signs of success but then that is the process of a great leader, as every success and failure is an invaluable lesson.
Business is a game that has no ending, the only way to succeed is to look to the future of the business and how it is going to get there. Self-belief that is built on knowledge is essential on the business journey. Especially when faced with setbacks and resistance, particularly when introducing new concepts to a well-established market. Leading by example, following through on convictions and driving forward with purpose shows a strength of character and a fearlessness towards “getting your hands dirty.”
As an entrepreneur, vision will always play an integral part, as moving forward to make that vision a reality will give employees opportunities to grow within their position. Inspiring them to embrace that vision as if it were their own. For that to happen a level of trust needs to be relinquished. Starting out with just friends to help may not work for everyone but can instill the ability to trust early in the business. Trust goes both ways. This can easily be built upon with honesty, with clear communication and the willingness to discuss ideas and thoughts with others. Realizing that the leader is not responsible for the job but for the people that are responsible for doing the job. Sharing the success and being personaly accountable for the failures. Also, showing empathy to the person and not their position as work life is not autonomous of the personal.
As vital as it is to keep developing as a leader, to have a strong sense of self-belief, to encourage others to grow, to convey trust and to earn the trust of others it would mean nothing if those hired do not fit the ethos of the company. A group of people with a similar set of values and beliefs create a sense of community. Working together towards a common goal, supporting weaknesses and nurturing strengths promotes a sense of camaraderie and improves levels of productivity. Taking a more relaxed, less formal approach when interviewing prospective candidates enables the person to come out from behind the wall put up for interviews. Finding out what motivates a person is just as important as their qualifications and experiences.
Being a great leader encourages the development of new leaders by hiring the right people with similar attributes. People who has the courage to speak of their views, who are honest, focused and has a willingness to develop daily. A good leader and follower relationship are those that learn and adapt to the other. There are no leaders without followers and if a company is only as good as its leader, a leader is only as good as the followers.