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Top Characteristics of a Great Leader

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 13/04/2015 Holly Rust

© REX/Monkey Business Images There's no question that some people are just natural born leaders. Others may spend years strengthening their skills and helping others just to achieve their leadership status. Anyone can assemble a team and give direction, but to be a strong leader you must have the ability to inspire the masses.

I've personally been very fortunate to work with some amazing, influential, brilliant people over the course of my career. Some of these colleagues carried titles and others did not, however all possessed many of the qualities I deem to be that of a remarkable leader.

If you look at all the great leaders past and present you'll find they carry many, if not all, of these traits:

1. Have the Ability to Listen.

© REX/Caiaimage Many leaders get into the habit of just directing and delegating. In order to nurture your team you need to know their needs and struggles. What can you do to help them grow? Ask them. They need to be heard in order for you to better lead them.

2. Have the Ability to Communicate Effectively.

Unfortunately people cannot read minds, so it's important to be concise and communicate your expectations to your team. Knowing what is expected of them will not only promote productivity, but also will keep the lines of communication open and eliminate confusion.

3. Demonstrate Integrity. 

© REX/OJO Images Strong leaders treat others how they would like to be treated. Foundations are based on trust and respect. If these two are not present, your team will continue to turn over--or their efforts will be minimal.

4. Demonstrate Humility.

Anyone who achieves success, big or small, should be celebrated. I am a believer in being proud of your accomplishments and letting others know, however being proud and being arrogant are two different things. Remember you, too, were once someone working your way from the ground up.

5. Demonstrate Empathy.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Putting yourself in others shoes helps you manage conflict better and builds long-lasting relationships with your team. 

6. Make It Their Mission to Inspire Others.

© REX/Monkey Business Images Good leaders exude passion and confidence. They know the right words to say because it comes from the heart. They've been where you are and want to help you get to where they are--together.

7. Lead By Example.

This one is my favorite. A true leader "walks the walk". They don't just tell you how to do it; they show you how to do it. They don't make excuses. Their expectations of themselves are just as high as their expectations for their team. When leaders lead by example they become a great resource, and employees respect them more and willingly take their direction.

The most important lesson I've learned in my continuous pursuit of becoming an inspirational leader is the same advice you hear when you become a parent; it's not about you anymore. Once you've realized this--you'll be on your way to being a great leader.

Post originally featured on hollyrust.com

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