The position of Business Leader or CEO is one of the only skilled positions that require more soft skills than hard skills. Your CV can boast years of study, lots of experience, and armloads of success stories, but the qualities that make for a powerful leader tend to always be the soft skills that you naturally have or acquire in your life.
Our CEO, Kaare Long shares the top 5 qualities that she feels make for an influential and successful leader.
Top 5 Qualities of a Good Leader
- Self-Awareness — Absolute success does not come out of a box and does not mean perfection, and true success lies within your ability to grow and expand and learn from life. Self-awareness is paramount to success because you need to learn from your mistakes, remedy them and create new patterns and approaches. If I hadn’t had the self-awareness to realize the limitations I was putting on myself as a single mom struggling to barely get by, I would not have had the ability to see past that reality and create a new one. Self-awareness is the ultimate weapon against the challenges that life presents.
- Open Mind — The only time you should stop learning is when you are no longer living. Learning is life, and if you think you’ve got it all figured out, you’ve already failed. Your ego will want you to be sure about your beliefs, perceptions, and reality, but when you realize that nothing is permanent and your mind is open to new ways of being, you can get out of your own way. I had to see new possibilities to change my life and succeed against all the odds stacked against me. That ability to have an open mind and accept other perceptions taught me the most about myself.
- Tenacity (sometimes known as stubbornness) — Tenacity is one of my favourite words. I learned to use it after being called stubborn many times in my life. The word ‘Stubborn’ tends to hold a negative connotation, but it is anything but. Tenacity is one of the most robust characteristics you can have to help you achieve success because you will refuse to give up. The only difference between people who succeed and people who do not is the ones who succeed never give up. I was given many reasons to quit, and on the outside, it looked like I should have on several occasions. But, my tenacity and my’ pit bull’ bite to not succumb or surrender to defeat is what elevated me to a new place each and every time. There was so much to learn in the moments of defeat as long as I didn’t let it overpower me and make me insecure. Failure is the most prominent teacher we have, and I failed, over and over.
- Transparency — Transparency is vital to building positive and resilient relationships, and it is also essential in maintaining your own integrity, which serves to empower you as you are. One of the #1 tips I give other women in business when it comes to public speaking in meetings or on stage is to not avoid mistakes; own them. This tip comes from my performance training. If you try to cover them up, ignore them, or otherwise pretend they don’t exist, you will alienate your audience, and things will get awkward because they will see the mistake — pretending it is not there creates a dissonance. Declare your errors, and you will connect in a truthful way to your audience, and they will trust you more — they will sympathize, understand, and open up to you.
- Passion — This is your driving force, the air you breathe, the light you are under. Passion is everything. Passion is a universal language that speaks to the motivation and emotions of others. In my experience, I would always fail to connect with others when I tried to ‘look’ a certain way or be something I wasn’t. When I connected to my unique passion, wild and wonderful as it is, I would instantly connect with others. The energy of passion ignites the spark within others. Find your passion, own it, and shine it out there. The world needs you!
What are some of the top characteristics that you have learned to make you a powerful leader?