In my consulting and executive coaching, I get to meet entrepreneurs, CEO’s and business leaders all the time. After years of observation, I see 10 common traits that the great leaders possess. These attributes are especially important for creative team leadership. The very best have most of them. If you have less than 7 you may want to rethink your career path:
1. Strategic thinker. This one should go without saying. A great leader needs to have a vision of where they want to take an organization today, tomorrow and into the future. Design directors must have true vision for the brand and the products. They are not caught up deciding on the new chairs for the conference room or a random Twitter post.
2. Strong communication skills. Great leaders are present and available. They say what they mean and mean what they say. No one in the organization should be confused on the business strategy or state-of-affairs. They have a common touch and emotional intelligence.
3. Decisiveness and courage are kissing cousins. Democracy and collaboration are important, but someone has to keep a company in forward motion. A good commander knows when to stop the madness and make a decision.
4. Good listener. The best leaders truly listen to other view points and don’t believe they hit all the home runs. They listen twice as much, as they speak. Their employees feel valued, as the respect is mutual.
5. Ability to delegate. Delegation is about trust. The best top dogs allow their team to run with the ball. They don’t try to score every goal from their place on the field.
6. Excellent teacher. Confidence is wanting others to succeed around you. Your subordinates are your report card. The smart skippers teach their flock to fish.
7. Committed. Leadership is hard work. You can’t be half-in and win the gold. If a leader is busier planning their trek to the Himalayas, they might want to relinquish the top spot.
8. Disciplined. Show me a person who eats well, exercises regularly and doesn’t smoke or do substances and I’ll show you someone with discipline and probably a very good leader.
9. Organized. Disorganized chaos isn’t a plan. Stellar leadership and proactive planning are like salt and pepper.
10. Humble. Last but not least, humility is a wonderful thing. The best leaders let others feel the sunshine.