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Leadership: Do you Have What it Takes?

April 18th, 2014

What does it take to inspire, motivate, and lead a team to victory? Wise mangers and company decision makers spend considerable time thinking about this question, and if they’re doing it right, their contemplations cover the entire spectrum from the practical (Am I giving my team the network access they need?) to the philosophical (What did Alexander the Great and Elizabeth the First have that I don’t have?)

If you’re stepping into a leadership role and your thoughts are starting to move down this path, keep a few considerations in mind.

Leaders Versus Managers

Leaders and managers are both responsible for earning the respect of their teams and meeting the goals of their organizations. But they each approach these goals from different angles. As the old saying goes, managers do things right, while leaders do right things. Great leaders are visionaries. Before they rally their teams, they generate excitement, share their vision of success, and inspire their teams to give their all.

Managers execute. They take the visions put forth by company leaders, and they put the practical nuts and bolts in place that can bring these ideas to life. They make sure their direct reports have the tools, training, coaching, scheduling resources, and budget access they need to complete their jobs at the highest level. As they do this, they also help teams resolve practical problems and overcome all obstacles that stand in the way of success.

The Qualities of Great Leaders

So what separates an adequate leader from a great one? Here’s a short list of qualities that and personal traits that help leaders inspire and motivate their teams.

1. They think positive: If there’s a chance that something can be done, then it can be done.

2. They think big: Great leaders don’t get lost in nitpicking details or try to cross bridges that are miles away.

3. They take risks: Leaders extend themselves in order to realize their visions.

4. They invest: Leaders know that sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

5. They’re resilient: Leaders aren’t easily deterred or paralyzed by setbacks.

6. They listen: Leaders pay close attention to the cues and input coming in from the environment around them, from the results of their projects, and from the voices of those who work for them. They’re constantly receiving and processing, not tuning out or shutting down. And when the feedback suggests a change of course, they respond quickly.

For more information on how to build these traits and put them to use, contact the staffing and career development experts at Merritt.

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