4 Traits that Separate Great Leaders from Good Ones

One of the most difficult parts of leadership is finding the right balance of skills. It’s like black coffee and creamer. Separately, coffee is bitter and creamer is overbearing. But together they make a perfect combination. Finding that ideal combination is what separates great leaders from good ones.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 4.26.34 PMGood leaders rely on individual traits, but often fail to balance them with complementary skills that strengthen their ability to lead. If you’d like to sharpen your own leadership skills, try finding the balance with these critical traits:

1) Strong – Kind – Strength is an irreplaceable leadership quality, but it’s also the easiest to get wrong. Many leaders overdo it, not realizing that true strength is balanced by kindness.

Kindness is a willingness to say what people need to hear, without hiding uncomfortable truth. It’s investing in what’s best for others, not self-serving. It inspires people because it lets people know you have their best interest at heart.

2) Firm – Flexible – Most leaders understand that weakness isn’t a good quality. But in their eagerness to be firm, many leaders overlook the importance of flexibility. A domineering leader doesn’t earn respect. It takes flexibility – a willingness to hear other ideas and make changes – to earn true respect.

3) Confident – Humble – There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and it’s difficult for many people to get right. While it’s important to believe in your ability, cockiness brings your credibility into question. Great leaders are self-assured, but humble. They don’t place themselves above others. They’re willing to do whatever it takes to help the team succeed.

4) Optimistic – Realistic – Great leaders are hopeful about the future, but grounded in reality. They adjust their sails with the changing winds and stay positive about what’s to come. This balance is what keeps organizations moving forward in challenging times without losing focus.

A Winning Combination
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