Two things great leaders possess
Leadership has been around for a long time already, in fact the world wouldn't be what it is today without great leaders past and present. Equally it wouldn't be the place it is today without the bad leaders it's had to learn from along the way too. With the rise of modern technology and in more recent times, social media, leadership and in particular an organisations need for leadership over management, has become a hotly discussed topic.
Nobody is born a leader. It's possible for people to be born with the particular skills that make a great leader, but actually becoming one takes time, commitment and a desire to continually develop and evolve. The best leaders know this and appreciate that it takes genuine hard work to make it into a leadership position, they also know and appreciate that it requires even more hard work honing the necessary skills to remain a good leader and that a position of leadership should never be taken for granted or unappreciated.
Two particular traits I have admired of leaders I've had the privilege of working alongside and therefore have looked to develop in my own leadership style are humility and the ability to listen, absorb and act.
Leaders can be found at every level of an organisation not just at the very top. A great leader recognises that they need strong leaders around them to help achieve their vision and is aware that such a position should not be granted to just anyone. Leaders should be proud of what they have achieved in getting to a leadership position, but also appreciate that there is always more to be done in advancing their skills and in developing those around them. Great leaders continually look to advance their knowledge and are never too proud to seek advice and input from those both above and below them if there is something to be gained for the greater good of an organisation.
The greatest leaders, however, are those that simultaneously listen, absorb and speak out; watch, reflect and act accordingly. Leadership isn't a position you reach through capability alone, its a lifestyle that requires natural skills that are less easy to pick up in the classroom and that require constant mindfulness and reflection to develop. It's easy to state that you are a "good listener" but great leaders actually 'hear' what is being said, they hold the ability to truly absorb the information that is being transferred to them and reflect on the action required before committing to the act itself. Leadership isn't about preaching or constantly giving out pearls of wisdom. Great leaders listen, understand what is being said, reflect on what is needed (which isn't necessarily a long drawn out task) and work with people to achieve a shared outcome. In doing so they create a position of openness and engagement with their employees, which in turn enables a company to develop at pace and truly drive towards its vision.