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LEADERS ARE MADE NOT BORN

5 Qualities of an Effective Leader

When you hear the phrase “born leader" how does it make you feel? Does it inspire you to work harder, or fill you with sadness and inadequacy? You might be surprised to find out that both are valid responses. But the truth is, anyone can become a leader with the right mindset, training, experience and self-development.

Research has found that only about 30% of leadership is genetic, while 70% is a result of life lessons and experience. And in fact, can be learned -- even in as little as 15 weeks.

Being a strong leader is not an innate talent, but rather a positive quality that is the result of specific behaviors and habits practiced on a regular basis," said Twenge. "Leaders should identify their most effective leadership behaviors and focus on practicing just those behaviors consistently." These are the five qualities that all effective leaders share whether they are conscious of it or not.

EFFECTIVE LEADERS PRIORITIZE PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

Most of us are taught to be leaders, but few of us are taught how to lead. It's not that we didn't learn the basic skills of how to get a job done— we all remember the basics: communicate, collaborate, inspire, manage risk…But what is missing from our leadership development is self-awareness. Self-awareness is one of the critical skills effective leaders need in order to understand how their needs, wants and values impact those they’re leading and the community they serve.

You can raise your level of self awareness by being proactive, being decisive, taking responsibility for problems and opportunities in your life, setting goals, prioritizing goals and having the motivation to accomplish them.

EFFECTIVE LEADERS ARE ALWAYS LEARNING.

The moment you feel like an expert at something is the moment that you stop growing. As a leader, you should be continuously learning. The world is constantly changing and if you want to stay ahead and become better, then you’ll need to learn new skills on a regular basis.

Constantly seeking to learn new skills and information improves your overall leadership abilities. There are numerous opportunities to continue to grow your skill set. This could include taking classes, reading books, or seeking mentoring from those who inspire you. Often we get comfortable in our position and stop seeking out learning opportunities, but remember it’s not about your current role – it’s about growing as a leader over time.

EFFECTIVE LEADER ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO GROW

To be a leader, we must be willing and able to help others grow. Leaders who lead by fear and manipulation; fearful of losing their leadership position, these leaders create a culture of negativity that ultimately hinders the ability of people in that culture to grow. It’s all about building up your tribe rather than tearing them down.

EFFECTIVE LEADERS SURROUND THEMSELVES WITH DIVERSE THINKERS

Great leaders ask themselves, who is the strongest person I know in a completely different field from my own? This is because there are certain situations where you need to surround yourself with those who think differently and can bring different perspectives to a situation.

Every person has unique knowledge that they bring to the table. As a leader, you are responsible for creating an environment where everyone's talent is recognized and appreciated.

EFFECTIVE LEADERS SEEK FEEDBACK AND ACT ON IT

Feedback is often more valuable than praise. Following this advice won’t always be easy. Trust me, I know from experience. But, those who really see that their future lies in leadership can achieve great things when they embrace this mind-set of seeking out constructive criticism every day.

As humans, we are wired with a need to be socially connected with other humans. When served in a purposeful and genuine way, feedback strengthens the relationships between the leader and the tribe while reinforcing the power of authentic influence.

From business leadership to leadership within our families and friends, embracing the path of self development, continued learning, encouraging others to grow and seeking out feedback, will ensure that we can positively influence and guide others while also continuing to evolve ourselves. -MM