4 Essential Characteristics of a Great Leader
Hone Your Leadership with these 4 Skills
Great leaders are made. They are constantly practicing their skills, they’re always honing their abilities, and they’re learning what does, and what does not, work well with those they are leading. Part of being a great leader is understanding the fundamentals of great leadership.
There are obviously many more than 4 characteristics of a great leader. However, you have to start somewhere, and nailing these skills can help you advance along the ranks of leadership. Keep reading as the best auto body shop in Montana, the one with a focus on building leaders, explains why these are the important components of a great leader.
Being in a leadership position can be tough. But without great communication, it gets all the harder. Too many people who would be great leaders ultimately fail because they aren’t able to effectively convey the mission and vision for the group they are leading.
Communication is a whole lot more than being a fantastic public speaker. It also comes down to be able to clearly convey a message, listen to feedback, talk to individuals, and give attention where it is needed. It’s seeing where the issues are before the issues are there, and making sure people know they’re taken care of before people know the issues are present.
Have you heard the story of Lee Iacocca? He was ousted from Ford, and took over Chrysler. He worked hard and made sure that Chrysler flourished in the 1980’s. But he tried to ride that wave. He did what needed to be done at the time, but then continued to try to do it. He saw the company surge to success… and drop into mediocrity. He failed to innovate.
Innovation means staying on the forefront of what the people want. Leadership today looks vastly different than it did a decade ago, and even more different than 100 years ago. The reason: people change. Sure many of the skills are still the same; but innovation is keeping up with the times.
Communication is one part talking and one part listening. But listening isn’t the same as hearing. Many years ago I was working for a medium sized company. A new CEO came in, and wanted to hear feedback and ideas from every single employee. This showed great leadership; collaborate with the little guys! The CEO, along with a handful of administration, brought in 5 – 10 employees at a time and we all gave opinions, ideas, feedback, talked about what worked and what didn’t work. For the next few months after that absolutely nothing changed. It wasn’t collaboration, it wasn’t even listening. It was a façade that was nothing but hearing.
Collaboration means working together. It means you need the feedback from “the little guys” and you have to implement changes that work for everyone. Leadership means creating common good, not just good for those at the top.
Decision Making Skills
Being a “little guy” in the story above, I wasn’t privy to the discussion behind the scenes. From our end it felt as though no changes were being made and we weren’t listened to at all. Knowing more about how things work “at the top” it may not have been that way at all. Perhaps our ideas and dreams were indeed too farfetched and in no way could they be implemented. A tough decision was made to not follow our advice, and to keep things as they are. A follow up would have still been nice.
Leadership means that you have to make decisions all day long. You have to make decisions that might be the best for the people but bad for the company. Or the other way around. Or they will be good for the customer, but bad for the employees, and neutral for the company. As Ben Horowitz puts it, the hard thing about hard things is that when you’re building a business there are no easy answers.
Big Sky Collision Center Trains Leaders
Here at Big Sky Collision, we train leaders. Every employee is trained, built up, and turned from an employee into a leader. The result is that everyone takes ownership of their job, they are dedicated and committed. That has helped Big Sky grow into the best auto body shop in the state with more certifications than any other shop around. It also means you get better work done on your vehicle.