I’m often asked about the qualities of a great leader.
The truth is these qualities may look different in different people. Leadership isn’t a list of character traits and skills you can put on and take off like clothes.
Great leadership begins by knowing who you are, what you want to be, and being willing to do what it takes to get there. It’s developed by intentional focus on developing leadership qualities needed to be transformational.
There are excellent self assessment tools for guiding you on this journey. Some of these tools may be familiar to you; however, when the results are reviewed together in light of your leadership development, the experience can be powerful. Together, these tools provide a roadmap for your leadership journey.
- Emotional Intelligence (Travis Bradberry) – You have likely read a myriad of literature on the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace. Current hiring practices often give greater focus to EI than to work experience and education. Bradberry’s easy-to-read book provides a good overview of the significance of emotional intelligence, as well as a self-assessment tool. The assessment allows you to make an honest examination of your life personally and professionally and make the adjustments needed to grow as a person and a leader.
- StrengthsFinder 2.0 (Gallup) – The StrengthsFinders assessment reveals one’s natural talents and abilities – the areas of “strength” that make a person stand out from everyone else. This assessment will provide you with rankings for the 34 strengths themes as they present themselves in your life. Most leaders focus on understanding and applying their top five strengths within their work life.
- Transformational Leadership Skills Inventory (Larick and White) – This assessment may be a bit more difficult to find. Developed by educational researchers in 2012, it measures leadership characteristics through the four domains of problem-solving and decision-making, character and integrity, personal and interpersonal skills, and communication. Other options for assessing leadership skills are appropriate and acceptable if the TLSi is not available in your area. It is most important that the leadership skills inventory assesses transformational leadership in areas similar to the four domains described above.
Leadership is risky. Failure is possible.
But growth as a leader depends upon a willingness to accept the challenge to step outside your comfort zone and take that risk. Your growth as a leader will provide personal fulfillment and satisfaction.
Even more important, your growth will allow you to better meet the needs of those you lead.