Great leaders come in all shapes and sizes, and they certainly aren’t limited to a particular industry or to Fortune 500 companies. A great leader can be anyone from a politician to the owner of a small cafe. However, despite the vast differences in professions and backgrounds, there are certain things that all great leaders have in common. The question is, do you see any of these qualities in yourself?
Inherent or not, leadership qualities and characteristics are learned through experience, practice, and consistency. Whether chief resident seeking to transition into fellowship, or Head of Department seeking reduced 30-day admissions, there always exists opportunities for improvement.
Here are 10 characteristics leaders demonstrate.
1. They have a positive attitude
This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a happy and relaxed atmosphere in the workplace. Team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” - Winston Churchill
2. They know how to manage failure and setbacks
What they don’t do is come apart at the seams revealing to their team how worried they are. This leads to negative morale, fear and binge-drinking under desks. Great leaders do in fact lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.
“We learn much by tribulation, and by adversity our hearts are made better. -Bishop Milton Wright
3. Leaders take responsibility
This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.
“We should be concerned not only about the health of individual patients, but also the health of our entire society.” - Ben Carson
4. They have a vision
They have a clear, exciting idea of where they are going and what they are trying to accomplish and are excellent at strategic planning.
"Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality." - Warren Bennis
5. They shine with courage
Among the seven leadership qualities, courage is the most identifiable trait.
“Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it, all others depend.”– Winston Churchill
6. They are full of integrity
Integrity requires that you always tell the truth, to all people, in every situation.
The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively. - Bob Marley
7. They reflect humility
It means that you have the self-confidence and self-awareness to recognize the value of others without feeling threatened.
“Your pride doesn’t get in the way of gathering the information you need to achieve the best results. It doesn’t keep you from sharing the credit that needs to be shared. Humility allows you to acknowledge your mistakes.” Larry Bossidy, the former CEO of Honeywell and author of the book Execution
8. They are firm believers in strategic planning
They continually ask, “Based on what is happening today, where is the market going? Where is it likely to be in three months, six months, one year, and two years?” They do this through thoughtful strategic planning.
Only leaders with foresight can gain the “first mover advantage.”
“The essence of strategy is that you must set limits on what you're trying to accomplish.” - Michael Porter
9. They exercise focus
Leaders focus on the strengths of the organization, on the things that the company does best in satisfying demanding customers in a competitive marketplace.
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” - John F.Kennedy
10. They encourage cooperation
The 80/20 rule applies here: Twenty percent of your people contribute 80 percent of your results. Gain the cooperation of others by committing to get along well with each key person every single day.
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” - Phil Jackson
Aptly named, Enclothed Cognition is the official Medelita blog for medical professionals interested in topics relevant to a discerning and inquisitive audience. Medelita was founded by a licensed clinician who felt strongly about the connection between focus, poise and appearance.