What Leadership Skills Can You Learn From CEOs?

See also: Mentoring Skills

Nobody is a born leader; it’s the hard-earned experience accrued over the years that make ordinary extraordinary. The journey of being a good leader is tough, but it is tougher to be a great leader.

So what makes a great leader so special?

Is there a set rule, a quick formula to make a leader great?

Unfortunately, leadership has no set rules. It is a path of consistent learning. A leader is a self-starter with clear vision, one who is versatile with the art of handling difficult situations. When an entire team is counting on its leader, then their leadership skills need to be exceptional. Let’s find out more about the leadership skills that become game changers.

1. Great Leaders are Self-Motivated

Motivated leaders are self-driven to achieve success because no one, except you, can keep you running.

They don’t depend on others for motivation, for them it comes from within. Their passion to achieve is simply enough to drive them on the path of success beyond all expectations. They keep themselves motivated, and take the necessary initiative for themselves and the team.

See our page on Self-Motivation for more.

2. Confidence, Standards and Integrity

Confidence is something inherent in great leaders. It is built through new experiences practiced and learned through life.

A leader should also be willing to fail because that helps in growing and finding strength that push the limits.

Great leaders have strong values and higher standards. They follow and make people around them follow these values both at personal and professional levels. They never make excuses or blame others.

Leaders accept their responsibilities and hold themselves accountable for their words and actions, whether good or bad.

Great leadership means sincerity and honesty in all your dealings.

3. Filled with Optimism and Positivity

Great leaders have the optimism and positivity to face all challenges.

When others think a task or project is unachievable, leaders pick the cue and face the challenge with vigour and positivity. Optimism is infectious and helps people to focus on the present business with the right attitude.

4. The Courage to Do the Necessary

Leadership sometimes means making unpopular decisions.

Doing so surely requires the courage to go against the tide. Leaders are never afraid to go against the tide to resolve any crisis. And leaders are never afraid to stand alone and face constructive criticism.

See our pages: Dealing with Criticism and Courage for more on these skills.

5. A Sense of Humour

It is true that most leaders are perfectionists, which make them very critical of themselves and their teams.

But when something can go wrong it usually does. That’s where it is important for a leader to have a good and healthy sense of humour. A great leader has the ability to laugh at their faults and take them in good stride. If a leader is hypercritical about everything, he or she risks alienating people.

True leaders understand that it is but human to make mistakes, and that failure is an important step in learning.

6. A Charismatic Personality

Successful leaders’ attract followers with their magnetizing and charming personality.

  • They wield attention and inspire people to achieve the desired goal.
  • They are friendly and approachable.
  • They have the ability to speak with anyone in a respectful and engaging manner.
Learn more about charisma and what makes people charismatic.

7. Discipline and Determination

Discipline in leadership is less about going around the book and more about having self-control, inner calm and resolve to achieve a task or a challenge.

What plays an important part in being self-disciplined is a high degree of determination and strong willpower.

8. Communication is Key

Great leaders spend a significant amount of their time communicating with people.

That is the real work of leadership. It is a real talent to be able to make people understand complex ideas, concepts and visions.  Simplicity is an art! Great is the ability to make your team understand complicated concepts in just a few phrases.

Having good communication skills starts by developing effective interpersonal communication skills. Soft skill development helps leaders gain that important edge over others. The actions, decisions and working of leaders also communicate a message.

That’s why great leaders always lead by example.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Leadership

The Skills You Need Guide to Leadership eBooks

Learn more about the skills you need to be an effective leader.

Our eBooks are ideal for new and experienced leaders and are full of easy-to-follow practical information to help you to develop your leadership skills.

9. Great Leaders are Masterful Listeners

Listening skills are absolutely crucial for any leader.

Great leaders listen first, speak second.

Among all the clutter, a great leader always invites ideas, messages and the voices of other people. He carefully sieves through these messages to gain useful insights.

10. Sympathy and Compassion

It is difficult to understand the feelings and needs of people when you are strongly focused on your goal.

Great leaders realize this and know how their actions affect people. When needed they send forward a soft heart filled with empathy and the compassion needed to deal with a particular situation.

Learn more about these qualities on our pages: Empathy, Sympathy and Compassion.

11. Turning Vision into Reality

Having a great idea isn’t enough.

How you convey your ideas is important to get people to buy into them. Leaders have the ability to break their vision into easy steps and strategies that can be understood by others and executed over time.

12. A Proactive Approach

Rather than waiting for things to happen, great leaders take charge of the situation.

They face difficult situations with energy and zeal, taking the necessary steps to bring positive outcomes.

13. Organization is the Key

Leaders believe in getting things around them organised because it plays an important role in determining the quality of leadership.

Great leaders know how to prioritize tasks in a long to-do list. This way they achieve all tasks efficiently.

14. The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the act of knowing, accepting, and responding to emotions, overcoming stress, and being aware of how your words and actions are affecting others.

Emotional intelligence is the key element of effective leadership.

People who have a high degree of emotional intelligence understand their feelings, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people.

15. Flexible Working Style

Great leaders are mostly gifted with flexible working styles.

We have the ability to make and follow our own schedules while working for someone, whether it is clients or someone else. Leaders should have the flexibility to be available and involved in organizational projects as well as other people’s lives.

It is important to always stay two steps ahead. For this leaders need to develop a durable mindset that involves research to make decisions and time to reflect on their decisions.

When you’re planning to pursue long-term goals then you can take small, actionable steps towards a bigger picture.

About the Author

I am Kendal Smith, content writer by profession and a blogger at heart. I’ve been studying the hiring trends in the corporate world closely and the problems associated with it.