Are You a Great Leader? Do You Have These 7 Qualities?

When I work with leaders in New York and the Berkshires of Massachusetts, I rely heavily on what I refer to as the Rule of Seven. As you may know, there’s a rule of seven that states that the number of objects the average human can hold in working memory is seven with a +/- factor of two. One of the oldest concepts in marketing is another rule of seven: the prospective buyer should hear or see the marketing message seven times before they’ll make a purchase.

You’ve no doubt read plenty of leadership articles, but I encourage you to read on to incorporate these seven qualities into your daily practice.

Rule 1: Integrity.

When you are responsible for a team, it is important to hold yourself to the highest bar. Your business and its employees are a reflection of you, and if you make honest and ethical behavior a key value, your team will follow suit.

Rule 2: Communication

You know what you want to accomplish; however, if you try to explain it to someone else and are met with a blank expression, you have an immediate problem. The ability to clearly and succinctly describe what you want to achieve is extremely important. If you cannot relate your vision to your team, you will not be working toward the same goal.

Rule 3: Creativity

To match the right strategy to a specific situation requires creativity and a willingness to think “outside of the box.” Leaders frequently are pressed to make decisions on the fly, and this is where your creativity will prove vital. Do not automatically select the first or easiest possibility. Often it is best to take a deeper dive on and issue, and even access colleagues or team members for their thoughts. By engaging in creative thinking and collaboration before making a decision, you can reach the best possible decision.

Rule 4: Delegate

Communicating your vision is essential to create organized and efficient work flow. However, if you do not trust your team with that vision, you might never progress to the next stage. To trust your team with your clearly communicated vision is a sign of strength, not weakness. To delegate tasks to the appropriate people is one of the most important skills you can develop as a leader.

Rule 5: Commitment

You expect your team to work hard and produce quality content. Remember from Rule 1 (Integrity): Your team follows your lead. Working with the boss down in the trenches – alongside everyone else – can be a great motivator.

Prove your commitment to the task and your role and you will earn the respect of your team and instill that hardworking energy among your staff.

Rule 6: Positive Attitude

You want to keep motivation and energy levels high, so you need to generate a consistent and confident positive attitude. Words of praise, occasional early dismissals and even snacks and beverages can showcase a positive and congenial attitude. Maintain an office mood that is a balance between productivity and good humor. When your team is engaged and fulfilled, they will provide extra discretionary effort.

Rule 7: Inspiration

All leaders have to navigate teams through uncharted territory. Everything can be uncertain, and the greater the risk, the higher the pressure. This is where your natural intuition must come into play. Guiding your team through the daily tasks is likely second nature. However, when something unexpected occurs, or you face a new situation, your team will look to you for guidance and direction. The difficult decisions will be up to you to decide and you will need to rely upon experience and instincts for solutions. Learning to trust yourself is as important as your team learning to trust you.

What do you think? Can you incorporate and retain these seven rules to be a better, stronger, and more inclusive leader? Integrity, Communication, Creativity, Delegate, Commitment, Positive Attitude, Inspiration. Hmmm, maybe I need to come up with an acronym! ICCCIPaD? Anyone?

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