Maybe They’re Born With It: 10 Qualities That Make Great Leaders- Valutrics

“What makes a great leader” just might be the eighth wonder of the world. There’s no cookie cutter formula to it, as some leaders are lauded for things like understanding emotional intelligence while others are hyper-productive with their day. In yet, after years and years of studying it, we’ve found that there are a few traits that separate some folks in being more successful.

The secret isn’t just hard work or dedication – although, those are, of course, important. But one of the most overlooked aspects of quality leadership is experience. Even if you look at athletes that become superstars early on, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready to lead the team. Yes, leadership is partly something naturally embedded in some, but for most, it’s a patient process that takes time.

You’re probably questioning right now if you have the chops or not, but not to worry, as I’ve worked through some of the commonalities between great leaders (as well as how you can become one too). While this isn’t going to come overnight, following a few of these steps can help you become a cut above the rest:

They’re Willing to Work The Front Lines

Everyone’s had a boss that felt they were ‘above’ working with their subordinates, and unfortunately, they can make for some of the worst leaders. As a former chef and Choux Box co-founder Tony Aiazzi points out in his piece Sensory Management, the best head chefs are the ones who work the line. Not only do they have a better acumen of productivity, but all of the details that go into it, including management of inventory and output.

They Hold Themselves To A High Ethical Standard

Overseeing others can be a big responsibility, as it’s assumed that you’re the moral compass for acceptable behavior and practices. And for most great leaders, that quality is paramount. In a survey published by Harvard Business Review on the top leaders in the world, over 67 percent stated that holding a high ethical standard as the most important quality to have.

They’re Clear Communicators

Another important point mentioned in the HBR study above is that clear communication is imperative, both in terms of expectations as well as transparency. How you communicate with your team will dictate how they interact with you and each other, so establishing an open-line will be a cornerstone to both your workplace happiness and productivity.

They Want To Help Nurture and Grow Talent

In a recent profile on the startup Location Labs by First Round Capital, they found the group had a 95 percent retention rate. Their secret? The company’s leadership is big on hiring and developing talent that they believe are the diamonds in the rough. Which, with enough studying, your firm can accomplish too.

They’re Great Delegators

Great leaders are known for their ability to delegate and assign tasks that make the workplace run more efficiently, but that’s only half the battle. According to North Carolina State’s study on delegation, the other important aspect is development in using tasks as a means of helping your talent thrive.

They Know When To Reach Out For Help

Even as the head of a company, leaders known when to reach out for help. While it might sound silly, a study by Stanford’s Graduate School of Business found that while all of the CEO’s surveyed felt as though they enjoyed leadership counseling, only 66 percent actually went out to do so. In short, don’t be afraid to gain an outside perspective, as a lot of former leaders have done the same.

They’ve Failed Before

In our annual survey on How CEO’s Think, we found that 23 percent had founded one company before their current one, while 21 percent had founded two, and 24 percent had founded three. I know in the startup world we love to laud failure, but there’s a lot of merit to the lessons from it in regards to leadership.

They Have a Fluid Approach

It’s been proven that some of the best leaders in the world know how to roll with the punches. After all, it’s part of what separates the good from the greats. In fact, a study by MIT found a high correlation between the success of a firm and how well a leader responded to a crisis. It might sound obvious, but some of us get caught up in the mix when it comes to addressing what comes first.

They Spend Time With Loved Ones

It goes without saying that we all cherish our time with loved ones, but in looking at some of the best leaders, they understand how family comes first. In a study by the University of Michigan, they found that those who spend more time with loved ones experience a reduced risk of depression and anxiety, two traits that can bring down any leader.

They Pay Attention To Their Health

When I say “health”, I don’t just mean staying in good shape. No, as the National Institute of Health points out, exercise is also a great catalyst in keeping your mental health in tip-top shape as well. Take the time to do some good for yourself, and I can promise good will follow.