When MicroMentor was first envisioned, one of our key goals was to help empower our mentees. The hope was for us to help each person become a strong (if not stronger) leader, or at the very least, to help teach them the common skills that strong leaders process. We felt that this was definitely something that mentees could use on their journey to completing their goals. It seemed to us that the decision ofgetting into the business of mentorship and the idea of teaching people how to become strong leaders went hand in hand.
One of the harsher realities about leaders is that as much as they are needed, they play a major role in the “make or break” of a company. It's true in virtually any situation, from a workplace, to a family, to a rag-tag group of people who are just trying to survive zombie hordes.
The point is that a strong leader can sometimes make all the difference. But what does that mean? What is a strong leader? In this blog we are going to look at that very question by examining the characteristics of a strong leader.
Now before we get too far ahead, it's important to keep in mind that there are all sorts of leadership styles and leadership characteristics. Also, the term "strong" isn’t being used in reference to strength or demeanor (ie. the muscular Superman or a stern screaming drill sergeant). With that said, let's take a look at the characteristics of a “strong leader.
Introducing the 3 C’s…
Without question, some of the most important characteristics of a strong leader are what we like to call the "the three C's". charisma, confidence and communication skills. Charisma can be thought of as “charm”, but more specifically, it is charm that inspires and creates admiration. Confidence, when it comes to leadership, is about trust. A confident leader trusts themselves, their team, and the decisions that they make. It doesn’t mean that a confident leader is always right, however, they trust themselves to be clear-headed enough to make the next move. Communication skills speak for themselves (pun intended), BUT the best communicator actually listens more than they speak.
Think of some of the current strong leaders that we see today. People like former President Barack Obama, Apple co-founder the late Steve Jobs, or Vice President Kamala Harris. These are people who are/were able to motivate and inspire those people around them and help make that last mile of a race feel like it's just a few inches away. Leaders like them who possess “the three C’s” can deliver a message to their team that will keep things on track and in focus. Even if there is doubt of the road ahead or in their own abilities, a strong leader with the three C's can make all the difference between a team's overall success or failure.
Adapt to survive…
Another key characteristic of a strong leader is adaptability. This is actually a leadership characteristic that seems to get overlooked quite a bit. A strong leader should have a clear vision of their business goals and the goals for their team. But it's just as important to realize that plans can and must change at times. As a result, a strong leader must be able to adapt to these changes and not be too rigid in their leadership style.
I think it's fair to say that the Covid-19 pandemic was a huge teacher in this regard. A great example is when theater companies had to pivot from doing in person shows to doing shows via zoom. Another example that most likely affected us all was when restaurants had to pivot away from indoor dining and instead offered curb side pick-ups for meals.
The point is that it's a strong and adaptable leader who is able to shift gears and make the hard decisions for the good of the company. Even if that decision may not always be the most popular one at the moment. Sometimes being a leader means knowing how to survive today, to see tomorrow.
Decisive action beats inaction…
This leads us right into another important characteristic that a strong leader should have - the ability to be decisive. We know that this one seems obvious, but it is worth discussing evenstill. A leader who is able and willing to compromise after making a decision is just as valuable. However, it's extremely important that a leader be able to make a firm decision at the outset.
"We will open up everyday at 9am sharp." as opposed to "I'm not sure when we will open, we'll play it ear". A leader who can't make a solid decision won't last in their position. Indecisiveness isn't just a poor leadership characteristic; it can potentially lead to something that can be catastrophic.
A leader who is indecisive means that no matter how great their communication skills may be, their team won't be able to trust them. When decisions fluctuate so much, so does the plan of action for the team, so they’re never quite sure which direction to go in. Also, odds are, the leader isn't fully calculating the risks as they go, which puts the whole business at risk.
Being decisive doesn’t mean rushing into a decision. We’re more so saying, be confident, and trust your choices as the spearhead of your business.
Which transitions us nicely into the last characteristic of a strong leader that we will discuss: accountability. Every one of us has made and will make mistakes. That is a simple universal truth, right? The key, though, is how we deal with and correct those mistakes.
If a leader (or anyone for that matter) has something along the lines of "I messed up, I'm sorry. I'll do my best to do better" in their vocabulary; it can make a world of difference. To be clear, accountability doesn't mean making insincere apologies for the sake of just apologizing. It means being able to use your communication skills and prove that one of your leadership characteristics is to accept responsibility when and if things go bad.
Being accountable means that your team can rely to do the right thing while also setting an example for the rest of the team. If you make a mistake, simply own up to it. If you don’t, you risk creating a nasty habit amongst your team of not taking responsibility for one's actions. No one likes admitting they are wrong. But leaders that can, and do, build trust in their team and inspire loyalty.
Any strong leader will tell you that a loyal and devoted staff is more valuable than any product they can put out. A company's number one asset will always be its people. So as a leader, it's important that you're a leader people want to support. Otherwise, you may find yourself being an army of one.
We really hope that you found this blog helpf is adaptability. This is actually a leadership characteristic that seems to get overlooked quite a bit. A strong leader should have a clear vision of their business goals and the goals for their team. d must change at times. As a result, a strong leader must be able to adapt to these changes and not be too rigid in their leadership style. s at MircoMentor are looking to pass on. Today's loyal student is tomorrow's leader. So it's up to all of us to ensure the right lessons are being taught. Be safe; we'll see you there.