Fifteen fundamental skills of a great leader.

1. Share the Vision
The most important thing a leader can do is provide their team with the WHY? What makes this work worth the time. Granted, the boss doesn’t always get to set the agenda, but a great one will advocate for something worthy, and ensure that she or he communicates it effectively and often.

2. They Lead
Sounds obvious but many ‘managers’ do not lead. To be a great leader you have to demonstrate some level of skill and in times of stress it’s the leader who stands up to be counted or finds a way forward. They make decisions.

3. They respect time.
Great bosses have little tolerance for boring meetings, mandatory fun, and making others wait unnecessarily. They also avoid long-windedness when straight forward comments will do.

4. Establish priorities.
When you try to focus on everything, you’re not focusing on anything. A smart boss understands that, and realizes that lack of focus can easily derail the plan. Everyone should be great at planning; leaders are great at planning and time management but also have that extra skill of being able to set the plans priorities.

5. Share information.
There are often good reasons to control the timing of information sharing, but overall the more transparent a boss can be, the more respect the team will ultimately have for him or her.

6. Provide feedback
People wonder how they’re doing. Great leaders let the team know, and they’re especially vocal and public about it when people are doing well. Building a culture of gratitude starts at the top. If the leader doesn’t take time to offer thanks to those around him or her and sets this culture in place.

7. They demonstrate empathy.
Great leaders are able to see things through other people’s eyes, especially their team. Of course this doesn’t mean that they are pushovers, but it does mean that they’re concerned about their people on multiple levels.

8. They recognise team strengths.
A great leader recognizes the talents of members of the team, and strives to lead in a way that lets everyone maximize their effectiveness together.  They also encourage growth and nurture team members to develop their skills.

9. Be here now
They work in the present when dealing with anyone they focus on that person’s needs, they do not let distractions undermine giving people the right level of attention, they listen. This skillset of working in the present also includes when working on their own tasks – focused.  They understand the importance of successful activity today is how you create what you want in the future.

10. They accept blame.
Ethical people accept blame for their failings. Maybe they don’t dwell on it, but they accept it. Great leaders go a step further, accepting the collective blame when the team comes up short, and then guiding everyone to move forward.

11. They are human
They show their emotions but work hard on being a positive influence. Showing happiness can be infectious and a great way to lead the team.

12. They set the expectations
It’s often true that more progress is made when we seek forgiveness than when we seek permission. However, there are rules, social norms, and basic decency. Great bosses strive to uphold them.

13. They celebrate wins.
Great leaders look for milestones to celebrate–whether that means a 15-second recognition or a full-blown party. Great teams celebrate, encourage and support each other throughout the journey – not just after the finish line has been reached.

14. They strive for excellence.
Because really, who wants to work for someone who strives simply to be adequate?

15. They create leaders.
Great leaders inspire their people to become great leaders. They’re thrilled, not threatened, when members of their teams move on to better things, in fact often they push these people forward (rather than try and retain or hold them back).

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