Are you a great leader?

There are five key traits to a great leader:

1. Vision

2. Passion

3. Decision Making Abilities

4. Team Building Skills

5. Character

Key Trait #1: You must have a vision. As a leader, you have to learn to communicate your vision and the vision of your organization to others. But how can you do that? Learn to paint a picture with words. Speak it, write it, draw it, touch it. Whatever methods you can use to create a picture, do it. As you work, your orgnaization’s vision should be in your mind every day. 

Key Trait #2: You must have passion. Your employees want passion. To build an extraordinary management team, you’ve got to light the “fire in their bellies,” to get them to feel passionate about the company and connect to your vision. Passion is infectious: When you talk about your vision for the organization, let your passion for your vision shine through. Others will feel it and want to get on board with you. 

Key Trait #3: You must learn to be a great decision maker. How are major decisions made in your organization? What is your process for making them? For instance, do you talk to your management team and create a list of pros and cons to help you make the best decision? Maybe you conduct a cost analysis. Or do you create a timeline for the implementation strategy, process and timing?

Here is a system to become a better decision maker. Q-CAT:

Q = Quick. Be quick but not hasty. 

C = Committed. Be committed to your decision but not rigid. 

A = Analytical. Be analytical, but don’t over-analyze. (Too much analysis can cause paralysis.)

T = Thoughtful. Be thoughtful about all concerned, but don’t be obsessive. 

What you use the Q-CAT, it’ll help you to decide when to bring others into the process and what steps need to be taken to help you make better decisions.

Key Trait #4: You must be a team builder. To become a great leader, you must develop a great team. But how do you do that? You can start by handing off responsibility to your team and letting your team to run with it. Don’t breathe down their necks and don’t micromanage, but make yourself available if questions or problems come up. Teach your team to use the Q-CAT decision-making system and give them the freedom to work through their own decisions. 

When projects aren’t on track or your team is falling behind on deadline, it serves no one if you start pointing fingers. This is when you need to rise to the occasion and inspire confidence in your employees, to let them know you support them and are ready to help. Be ready to alter plans and make new ones. Don’t forget to use humor to keep your team’s spirits up during a crisis. When an emergency hits, your team will look to you to be a tower of strength and endurance.

Key Trait #5: You must have character. Without character, all the other “keys” are for naught. Your innate character strengths and limitations play a critical role in your leadership style. All great leaders have taken steps to learn about their individual personality and what part it plays in their leadership style. 

What is your leadership style? If you don’t know, there are many leadership sytle assessments available on the market. Two popular ones that have been around for many years are the Myers-Briggs assessment and the “360-Degree Feeback” model. 

Are you a great leader? Do you have the desire to become one? A great leader is someone who has a clear vision and can turn that vision into a vivid picture that others can see. When you speak about your vision, it should be with a passion you feel in your heart, a passion that creats so much enthusiasm that your team will want to jump on board. When major decisions need to be made, you should encourage everyone to use the Q-CAT system and be responsible for his or her own actions. Adn you should be continually assessing your own character and never stop growing, personally or professionally.

Source: Patty Vogan for