More than anything else, that’s the sign of a true leader—someone who makes you feel, think, act beyond the limits you imagined to your own capabilities and capacity. What’s more, they make you feel you are valued and that you’re part of something bigger than yourself.
What skills do these leaders have that allow them to help others become their best? Fundamentally, there are only two. Even the first is far from common on its own, and because the second builds on the first, it’s especially rare.
But here’s the good news: rare as they are, they’re attainable. You can learn them and practice them and master them, and go on to help and empower others to exceed their self-imposed limits.
First, great leaders have a strong foundation of self-awareness. All great leaders draw strength from a well-built foundation of self-awareness. To lead from within requires a comprehensive understanding of yourself. That includes the ability to identify your own strengths and weaknesses—in terms of skills, which you can leverage by hiring people who make up for your weak spots, and also in terms of emotional triggers. Managing these triggers requires a high level of emotional awareness, plus the knowledge of how to be adaptable and the willingness to alter your behavior to be an effective leader. You have permission to be human—that is, sometimes flawed and vulnerable—but you must never allow inner turmoil to wreak havoc upon those you lead.
True leaders understand that their attitudes toward themselves set the tone to which others respond.
Second, they have the single-mindedness to instill power within others. It’s one thing to understand yourself and to be aware of who you are. But the highest leadership quality is knowing how to empower others. A true leader is able to inspire their team, to encourage them to go beyond excellence and accomplish far more than anyone expects of them—or than they expect of themselves. A good leader may take people where they want to go, but a great leader takes them where they don’t necessarily want to go but ought to be.
A true leader doesn’t create more followers; they create more leaders.
A good leader may ask, “Is this working for me?” But a great leader will ask, “Is this working for my people?”
Great leaders can change the world, but first they must learn to lead from within. It’s only after they’ve developed that level of self-awareness that they can they lead and others to greatness.
Lead from within: Leaders become great when they are able to find their inner power and use it to inspire, strengthen and empower others.
This article is written by Lolly Daskal, an executive leadership coach who is CEO and founder of Lead From Within. You can find this post here.
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