Being a great leader takes more than just acting, a few tests, and proudly hanging a degree on your wall. Although intelligence is one part of strong leadership and successful entrepreneurship, two other factors strongly come into play: emotional intelligence and personality. Today you will learn more about several traits that play into these factors.
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Self-awareness – This type of emotional intelligence is defined by the distinct ability to recognize your own moods and emotions, and how they affect others. Leaders with high self-awareness are confident, recognize their own strengths and weaknesses and often have a self-deprecating sense of humor. Leaders who are self-aware inspire followers to ask for help, accept mistakes and strive to learn more, which can lead to innovation and organizational flexibility.
Empathy – Most employees would agree; having a manager who understands their needs makes for a much more enjoyable work environment. It’s important for leaders to have some degree of empathy, or relating to others’ feelings. Leaders with high empathy toward their followers are able to give the support they need to feel satisfied in their jobs or roles. Leaders who empathize often provide high levels of service to clients and customers and are seen as allies to their followers.
Motivation – An entrepreneur who is brimming with new ideas – and an eagerness to start them – has a high degree of motivation, another important emotional intelligence characteristic of effective leaders. Motivated leaders are passionate about their work above and beyond money or status – they often are working chiefly to pursue their goals with energy and drive. Leaders who show motivation are often optimistic, even when faced with failure or roadblocks to success, and are committed fully to their organization or ideas.
Extraversion – The entrepreneur working the room at the party? She exemplifies the personality trait known as extraversion, which is a proficiency in managing relationships, networking, and building rapport. These types of leaders are effective during times of change, skilled at building teams and persuasive.
Conscientiousness – The leader who always answers his phone, morning, noon and night has the hallmarks of conscientiousness. He or she is dependable, responsible, focuses on great achievements and never gives up. You might expect a conscientious leader to focus on tasks, be intimately familiar with laws and rules, and have an incredibly high ethical standard.
Emotional Stability – A great leader must be the calming force during times of change, crises and turmoil. Emotional stability is one of the most important personality traits a leader can have, remaining calm and composed and keeping focus in the face of ambiguity. A leader with strong emotional stability will behave in a predictable way and have high self-esteem.
Openness – To succeed in business, it helps to have an open mind, which is why openness makes the list of important personality factors for great leaders. An open leader values new ideas and experiences and embraces change, and can be identified by flexibility, shared decision making and regular information sharing.
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