What are the characteristics of a successful leader?

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Answered by: Michael, An Expert in the Leadership Category
Society loves to debate the characteristics of a successful leader. There are those who believe that leaders are born, implying that one cannot develop the qualities necessary to lead people. Many people define a successful leader based on the level of charisma that they possess and how many people are naturally drawn to them. Others define a successful leader by the results they achieve, believing the end justifies the means.



Yet others state a successful leader is one who is able to master the art of identifying the talents of each of the members of their team and properly motivating those members to use their given talents to achieve the desired goal. These leaders surround themselves with a team that has the necessary abilities or has the potential to develop the necessary skills to achieve the desired goal. A truly successful leader will then unify that team toward the goal and motivate them to reach their full potential individually all the while propelling the team to the final goal. This method of leadership is truly a “win-win” allowing each member to achieve success as well as the team achieving the goal. These leaders have fully engaged the members of their team creating an atmosphere that breeds success for all parties involved.

The duration of the success a team achieves under its leader depends on the tactics that the leader utilizes. The leaders who experience long-term success are the leaders who motivate their team by creating the desire within each member to achieve the desired goal by recognizing how the talent that they possess can assist the team to the goal. The leaders who motivate their team by fear and with force may experience quicker success; however, the success is often short lived as the team is not fully engaged into the success of the team they are only motivated by the fear of losing their job or facing discipline for their failure of obtaining the goal. These leaders who utilize these tactics often move from position to position only looking at the short term. When they move onto their next assignment they often leave a team with many of its members unhappy with their position and those members who have options for alternate employment have exercised those options leaving a team without the total talent it once possessed.



True leaders are those who leave a team better than it was when they started. These leaders recognize the value that each and every team member provides to the team and strive to develop each member to achieve their full potential. Once a team is comprised of individuals seeking to reach their full potential for the betterment of the team, success is inevitable. The challenge for the leader shifts to keeping the individuals engaged toward the goal by continuing to improve the process of obtaining the goal keeping the challenge fresh.

The art of motivating people and recognizing their given abilities and how those abilities can be used in the team to achieve the goal is the ultimate characteristic of a successful leader.

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