5 Traits Every Leader Should Have to Achieve Hero Leadership

Guest post from Jeffrey Hayzlett:

What’s
leadership? What makes for an effective leader? The answers to both these
questions are relative to every organization — big or small. There is no one
set of rules that makes for an effective leader, but leadership encompasses a
slew of characteristics and different people embody different sets of traits.
The fact of the matter is, some people become good leaders and others don’t.
 
For me, a good
leader isn’t someone who just tells others what to do. It’s not someone who wields
power just because they are the boss. A good leader is someone who guides and
mentors a team, who offers counsel, looks to foster a good working environment
and creates a culture that’s sustainable.
Natural born
leaders have the ability to motivate and communicate better than other members
of the team. I believe these two traits are the two most critical because if
you can’t motivate your team or can’t communicate your ideas, there won’t be
anyone following you. Therefore, who exactly are you leading?
My latest book,
The
Hero Factor: How Great Leaders Transform Organizations and Create Winning
Cultures”
examines key pillars on how to become a better leader by creating
a winning culture, achieving operational excellence – all without dismissing
the power of profit. It was Henry Ford who said, “A business that makes nothing
but money is a poor business.” Making money and creating a winning culture is
something every leader should strive for. Why not have the best of both worlds?
Here are 5
traits every successful leader should have:
1. Personality.
You have to show your employees that you have a personality
– whether it’s humor or being charismatic, employees need to relate to you at
some level. Above all, you must be genuine. That’s something that you shouldn’t
have to fake – ever.
I
believe in being yourself, always! My
attitude is about owning who I am and everything I do: Sell me, sell the
company; sell the company, sell me. My style of leadership is fearless, bold
and relentless. To me, that says, “I own who I am!” Don’t be afraid to own
everything about your leadership – the good, the bad and the ugly.
2. Be
persuasive.
Being
persuasive doesn’t entirely mean getting people to do what you want. It means
that as a leader, you are constantly aware of the differences that exist at
every rung of the ladder – from your fellow executives, to other types of
company leaders, to the admin team. The message you’re trying to convey must
reach everyone without any room for
misinterpretation. At every turn, you need to think about who your audience is.
That’s what a good leader does. They communicate succinctly and effectively,
leaving little to no wiggle room for miscommunication or misinterpretation. An
effective communicator gets everyone to row in the same direction and therefore
is the catalyst that moves the needle forward.
3. Honesty and trustworthy.
Honesty and trustworthiness are the
pillars of any good leader (and human being). If your employees and colleagues
can’t (or don’t) trust you, you have a huge problem. Not to mention, no one
wants to do business with you. People will follow those who they trust, and
they’ll appreciate your candor and openness. They may not like it, but they’ll
appreciate it.
A good leader also
gives credit to their team. Let them know they are appreciated, trusted, and
that you have their backs generates a greater level of trust and loyalty; more
so than any so-called leader who is constantly bragging about “their”
accomplishments.
4. Good listener.
A great leader
is constantly engaged with their peers can rally a group of followers much
faster than one who hides in the corner office. If you fail that simple, yet
somewhat overlooked, task you’re putting your business in danger. It’s as
simple as that.
Listen to your
employees as they’re typically most aware of the issues taking place within your
company and also your first line of defense. Listen to your consumers as they
may have sound advice on how to improve your product or service. Creating that
level of trust and keeping the lines of communications open are what’s needed
to achieve a winning culture, which leads to operational excellence.
5. Risk-taker.
Taking risks is
part of being in business. And for most of us, no one will die if we take a
risk and make a mistake.
Everyone in my
company has heard me say “no one will die” in numerous occasions. Most of us
aren’t leading a team of surgeons and no one is going to die from taking a risk
in business. Lose some money? Maybe. One thing’s for sure, you won’t get
anywhere without taking a risk or two.
Taking
risks isn’t about being irresponsible, reckless or careless. It’s about
constantly taking the temperature of your business to make sure it still has a
pulse. It’s about taking risks that align with the changing times and your
company’s values. You will make mistakes, that’s part of life. However, if as a
leader you’re not willing to take any risks, you can’t expect your employees to
take them for you. If you take risks, they’ll try to emulate that and help move
the company forward. You set the tone.
Good
leaders, lead. They think big, they come up with great ideas, they fail, they
counsel, mentor, and are part of the team. If you think being a leader is
finally making it into the c-suite or the corner office, you have the wrong
perception of what being a leader is all about. Sure, the corner office and the
c-suite look good on a resume and might impress a few of your friends, but the
fact remains that you spend more time at the office with your team, than you do
with your own family. It might be best to have your team on your corner, rather
than fighting you at every turn.
Jeffrey Hayzlett is a primetime television host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett and Executive
Perspectives
 on C-Suite TV, and business podcast host of All
Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett 
on C-Suite Radio. He is a global
business celebrity, speaker, best-selling author, and Chairman and CEO of C-Suite
Network, home of the world’s most trusted network of C-Suite
leaders. Hayzlett is a well-traveled public speaker, former Fortune 100
CMO, and author of four best-selling business books: Think Big, Act
Bigger
: The Rewards of Being Relentless, Running the Gauntlet, The
Mirror Test 
and The
Hero Factor: How Great Leaders Transform Organizations and Create Winning
Cultures.
Hayzlett is one of the
most compelling figures in business today and an inductee into the National
Speakers Association’s Speaker Hall of Fame.