What Makes Great Leaders: Humility is One Quality Among Many

Great leaders have a lot of things in common.

We could spend hours dissecting what makes an effective leader (and we'll dive into some elements of it below). But at the end of the day, great leadership stems from humans who develop astonishing inner qualities. In many ways, who we are on the inside matters more than what we do on a day to day basis.

The reason this is true is that leadership is not an overnight thing. We read things on social media about leadership “hacks." But truthfully, it's a journey. You can't just become a leader overnight.

Thus, developing inner traits that last, like having a positive attitude, staying humble, and having a high level of emotional intelligence are all key.

Here are some of the qualities great leaders have.

They Have A Vision

Effective leaders are paradoxical. We're grounded in the present but have a clear vision for the future. We also know how to communicate the direction the company is moving in, and how to create emotional buy-in with employees.

Having a strong vision for a business is like using a GPS in your car. Without knowledge of where you're headed, you're more likely to simply drive in circles or get lost altogether. And when we get really clear on where we want to go, it's easier to communicate this in a way that inspires others.

When setting a vision, it's important to really dig dip. Identifying your “why," or the reason for doing the work that you do will help you stay passionate about the work you do.

Talking to people we trust is a good way to come up with a vision. Anything that helps get ideas out of our heads, like journaling or even jotting down notes on scrap paper is also good. Once it's in the world, you can hone it into exactly what you want it to be.

Sometimes, we know our “why" and have a vision without even knowing it. Writing it down and sharing it with others also ensures everyone else is on the same page as you.

They Have A Positive Attitude

As the old saying goes, attitude is everything.

The way we see things and how we orient ourselves to the world around us matters. When your view of the world is positive, the people around us work harder and feel inspired.

Executive coaches who adopt a positive attitude are more likely to build strong relationships with their employees. Being around someone negative all the time is a drain both psychologically and physically, and could trickle down to those who work for you.

As it turns out, being positive also boosts your health. Studies show that older people who were more positive had better health outcomes than those who were indifferent or negative. If you're passionate about the work that you do, developing a positive attitude could allow you to do it for much longer.

And keep in mind: being overly optimistic for the sake of it is not what we're talking about. There are times where putting a smile on our faces for no reason isn't the answer. We're all human, after all.

The key is to develop a growth mindset and imbue that into the culture of your company.

They Employ Humility

As far as inner qualities go, being humble is about as underrated as it gets.

In today's “look at me" social media culture, it can be a challenge for great leaders to stay quiet about the work they do. Everywhere we look we see people shoving what they're doing in our faces. We want to participate and fear we'll miss out if we don't.

It's perfectly fine to use social media to show other people what you're all about. However, avoiding things like self-glorification and exaggerating accomplishments benefits everyone.

The reason is simple: when great leaders are humble, their employees tend to shine. This increases their intrinsic motivation and love of their work, which boosts productivity and promotes a positive culture.

Naturally, all of us want to inspire and lead others. But there's a big difference between talking about what you're achieving and putting your head down to achieve it. We all might find it easier to work harder if we don't stop to celebrate or post every little thing.

They Develop Emotional Intelligence

Thirty years ago, the number one metric our society used to determine future success was IQ. This stands for “intelligence quotient," and our score tries to predict how smart we are.

Today, emotional intelligence, or EQ, dominates the world of entrepreneurship. One's ability to recognize, manage, and deploy their emotions is an inner skill that serves all areas of our lives. And as it turns out, having a high EQ can also help our businesses make more money.

Those with a high EQ regulate stress better, communicate with employees more effectively, and deploy more empathy in trying situations. No matter what your leadership style is, you stand to benefit from developing this inner quality.

Making the right choice is paramount for the long-standing success of any executive coach. Learning how to cut through impulses and make good decisions will improve all areas of your life and make you a better leader.

What All Great Leaders Have

All great leaders have a bounty of inner traits that make them effective, empathetic, and productive in the workplace.

If you want to inspire others and achieve a lot in your business, try developing inner skills like being clear on your vision, maintaining a positive attitude, staying humble, and developing a high degree of emotional intelligence.

All of these traits will lead to better relationships with your employees. And more than likely, more income and impact as well.

Learn more about how our executive coaching packages can help your business thrive.