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  • Writer's pictureJenn Donahue

The Top 3 Qualities of a Great Leader

Do you have what it takes to be a great leader?

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”

– Ronald Reagan

While it’s important as leaders to do great things, it’s equally (if not more) important to be able to inspire others to achieve great things alongside you.

As leaders, it is up to us to continually refine our skills and cultivate the qualities necessary for achieving great things. It is important for us to have the ability to motivate others, be able to set the pace and lead by example, and let our passion fuel our purpose.

When you cultivate the qualities of a great leader, you will retain a team that will follow you until the end.

Keep reading to learn three qualities that contribute to a great leader.

1. Ability to motivate others

When it comes to motivating and inspiring others, it’s really all about understanding what the people around you are looking for in a leader.

Are you embodying the qualities of a leader that resonates with your team?

Maybe your team is looking for an empathetic leader. Are you making sure to show that side of yourself? Maybe your team is looking for a leader that is caring or curious. Are you making sure to take time to show interest and respect towards your team members?

To motivate others, you have to know what makes them tick. Once you know what lights them up, you can fuel their fire and keep feeding their flame.

Start by getting to know your team and once you have a good understanding of who they are, you can understand what they need to do a great job and stay motivated.

For many, especially the rising millennials, what they need is to feel autonomous when working. So try giving them a project that they can OWN because man, that’s motivation right there. Now they get their chance to work independently and show how great they are at doing great things.

Millennials especially are looking for leaders that can really empower them to grow into their fullest potential. Contrary to popular belief, money is not everyone’s motivation, so find what motivates you and your team and deliver on it.

2. Master genuine leadership with your team

We often describe great leaders as bold, powerful, or fearless. Yet research shows we prefer leaders who are decisive, empathetic, and inspiring.

I know for me, I tried to be the charismatic leader that everyone loves, but it was exhausting. So many of my male colleagues were “on” and energetic all the time and I thought that I had to emulate that if I was going to get anywhere in my career.

When I tried to lead like the men I saw around me, though, I failed my team. And it was through my failures that I learned how to lead more authentically, instead of like everyone around me.

The good news is that when we cultivate these underrecognized traits within ourselves, we are able to uncover our genuine leadership style.

I feel most authentic as an empathetic, assertive, and caring leader. I enjoy getting to know my team, what keeps them going, and how I can help them achieve great things both in their career and life.

When you master genuine leadership in any role, your team feels trusted and motivated to follow you towards your highest goals and achievements. You’ll retain your team and watch them grow with you. When you have all people working towards big things, there’s nothing you cannot achieve.

3. Passion-forward and fueled by purpose

Once you feel comfortable learning how to be an authentic leader, you can then take it to the next level and infuse your mission, your team, and your goals with purpose and passion.

As the workforce becomes younger and younger, it is becoming more and more imperative to cater to the needs of the rising generations. The good news is, that in doing so, you are benefiting your company and mission.

The workforce is becoming less motivated by a paycheck, and more motivated by passion. When you can align your company values and goals to create a mission for your company, you’re going to see more drive and ambition from your team because they have a focus. They know where they need to go.

At the end of the day, it’s passion that keeps your employees coming back the next day. It’s your ability as a leader to continuously fuel that passion and give your team purpose.

When a job is fulfilling, inspiring, and motivating, you and your team feel less like you’re working and more like you’re simply achieving great things.

Becoming a Great Leader

In my career, I’ve had the opportunity to oversee huge geotechnical projects, lead hundreds of military personnel, give keynote speeches to hundreds of business leaders, build a world-changing bridge over the Euphrates, command a battalion of 800 in Afghanistan, and start my own business, so it’s safe to say I’ve achieved some pretty great things.

All these achievements have one thing in common: it is my mission to inspire greatness in those around me. And through doing this, my teams and I have gone on to make history through what we’ve accomplished.

When you have the ability to motivate others, can master genuine leadership, and continue to fuel your teams and projects with passion, there’s no stopping what you can do as a leader.

If you’re ready to achieve great things or would like some inspiration behind doing so, reach out to me today and let’s talk.


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