The 8 Factors that define great leaders
Written by Anderson Niu
March 1st, 2020
In your opinion, what qualities do you think people expect to see in a leader?
It is impossible to talk about leadership and not mention “power”, because that is what leadership is: the right usage of personal strengths to influence people and leverage actions towards a specific goal.
Leadership is an ability that anyone can develop through practice, and it allows individuals to influence others in many different ways. Nevertheless, the most important thing here is not the number of qualities people have. It is how they deliver them.
To give you some examples, a person can be an excellent communicator, but a terrible organizer; a well experienced professional, but very arrogant and hasty; have an exceptional organization, perfect communication, great knowledge, but have poor decision-making skills.
In the end, experience is only one of the many steps we must take towards our progress. What really matters and makes the difference is what we do with the knowledge and experience we get along our path.
For instance, people who focus on theories can see the flaws and the big picture of a process, but they usually lack real practice and supervision to track the results properly. Sometimes, even study cases are not enough because they can be biased by a plethora elements and circumstances.
On the other hand, people who focus more on hands-on experiences are more likely to know what really works for a certain process, once they are experiencing it most the time, but they do not usually see the big picture because they are too busy thinking about urgent problems.
Indeed, leaders are what they are because they thrive to keep a balance between their knowledge and experience, and that helps them to achieve their goals.
My research on leadership styles focuses on the level of influence among groups of leaders, and how they gradually build their morale within the team to achieve the leadership role. As a result of my studies, here I bring 8 factors that define great leaders based on their actions to build and maintain their morale:
PERSONAL FACTORS (intrinsic characteristics of individuals)
- CHARISMA: The ability to connect with others, show support, and change environments
- ORGANIZATION: How you organize your thoughts, speeches, and processes
- COMMUNICATION: The well usage of verbal and non-verbal communication
- OBSERVATION: The ability to adapt solutions and detect external factors
SOCIAL FACTORS (comparative characteristics among individuals)
- SELF-IMAGE: How you see and position yourself in the group
- POWER LEVEL: The level of morale you perceive in others comparing to yours
- KNOWLEDGE LEVEL: The level of knowledge you perceive between you and others
- EXPERTISE LEVEL: The level of expertise you perceive between you and others
EXPLAINING THE PERSONAL FACTORS:
Charismatic leaders are those who rely on their empathy, sense of humor and capacity to understand others. They usually take the lead after a few interactions while sharing the space with the group, so people have enough time to know them and feel comfortable with their presence and main points of view.
One of their most effective skills is their networking ability, which helps them to keep up with a dominant and confident posture, which people usually see as a sign of strength and wealth.
On the other hand, they need to develop their organization skills and to learn how to delegate activities, otherwise they tend to gradually lose their power of influence in the group. When that happens, eventually, another person ends up having to assume the leadership.
Leaders who possess this quality are true strategists and planners. With their great focus, they are able to organize conversations, plans, strategies and activities very accurately. This aspect is important for them because they value order and risk control.
By usually being analytical personalities, the organizers tend to be self-starters when they feel that the group does not have synergy and there is no defined purpose.
In a social context, they organize meetings and parties, and establish solid connections with selected individuals by having a complete conversation with beginning, subject discussion and conclusion, which gives people the impression that they are great public speakers, experienced, and decisive.
The Communicators are leaders with a high-level vocabulary, and they are constantly in search for balance between their body and mind. They enjoy to demonstrate their experience and knowledge in the group to cause a great impression.
Communication here is also non-verbal, which means that good communicators are experts in expressing themselves and making their ideas clear to anyone that is receiving their message.
It is known that great leaders have to be good communicators. That is why communication here comes as a plus, considering small details of an excellent interaction. I split communication here into two topics:
– BEHAVIOR: How you act/react and speak in the environment with your verbal communication. The way you express yourself verbally and show your intentions. It involves voice volume, variations, tone, humor, vocabulary, sarcasm, and conduct.
– POSTURE: How you act in the environment with your body language. The way you express yourself with body language and show your interests. It involves the use of personal space, body contact, gestures, eye contact, expressions, and reactions.
Curious on how to use those aspects of communication in your favor? Let us know by writing COMMUNICATION in the comments below.
Analytical leaders are good observers who prefer to understand the context and the details before giving their opinion. They are experts in analyzing their surroundings, which allows them to take advantage of perceived details to find unconventional solutions. In other words, they are more likely to adopt creative approaches.
With good observation, you can better detect useful surrounding elements, perceive behavioral patterns, detect abilities, and, most importantly, create opportunities.
In business meetings, it helps them to understand body language, tone of voice, identify problems, and detect personal strengths. All of these factors contribute for a good plan structure, involving the right people in the right place.
Usually less talkative, the observers tend to wait for the best time to bring up the solution. In fact, they do not believe in brainstorm to find answers. They would rather focus hard on the problem and the available resources to find THE solution.
EXPLAINING THE SOCIAL FACTORS
SELF-IMAGE (how you position yourself within the group)
Self-image is crucial for determining how well you know yourself and how you expose this to people. The way we position ourselves among the group will dictate our posture regarding others’ opinions and, consequently, the number of possible opportunities to assume the leadership.
For instance, people that have a solid and positive self-image tend to be more democratic and supportive. They are good team players because they know how to balance the active listening and their participation in a group, putting their pride aside and welcoming different points of view.
POWER PERCEPTION (Morale level)
Power here means influence to catch people’s attention when speaking, delegating and making decisions. Power can be earned or granted in many different ways and it can come from respect, admiration, hierarchy, not to mention but a few, including fear. In other words, the morale you hold in a group is the level of influence you can apply on those who are involved.
KNOWLEDGE LEVEL PERCEPTION
The way individuals perceive the difference of wisdom and knowledge between them and others within the group. This perception concerns the following aspects:
– General knowledge, combined with life experiences;
– Specific knowledge, which regards fields that require time to study, test and master it
Knowledge is power, and those who hold the most valuable information related to the group’s goals are more likely to lead. However, remember that knowledge without proven applicability is not enough to lead a group sometimes.
EXPERTISE LEVEL PERCEPTION
The way individuals perceive the difference of experience between them and others around within the group. This perception concerns the following aspects:
– General experiences, such as simple activities and conduct awareness, combined with life experiences;
– Specific experiences based on efficiency and time spent on complex activities that require time to learn and master the process.
Experience is important to prove that goals are achievable, but it does not matter how much experience you have. What really matters is what you learn from that experience and apply to achieve your goals.
So, what do you think about this approach to define great leaders based on those 8 factors? Write in the comments below what you liked the most about it.