What makes a great leader?
I use “leader” instead of “executive” because I believe that although many employees may be promoted into an executive position, not everyone can become a leader.
That difference is critical to the success of a company. Effective leadership transforms a business.
Recently, I was named “Executive of the Year” by THE CANNATA REPORT, a leading print and digital media resource of the office products and workflow solutions industry. I believe the main driver for this award is that leadership manifests itself through a dedicated and committed team. My achievements are a direct result of every person who works at Konica Minolta. They have committed to join me on this journey and have supported me as we envision the future of technology together.
So how do you get a team on board with your vision? Here are my 5 characteristics of a great leader.
- You must have a vision. It seems simple, but you need to have the blueprint drawn, the path marked and the communication skills to share it. Ask your managers what the company’s vision is. Does it align with yours? If so, you’ve communicated well and everyone is working toward the same goal. If it doesn’t align, you need to work on delivering a clearer message.
- You must be a great decision maker. While ultimately a leader has the final call, a great leader asks managers for their opinions. A great leader weighs the pros and cons and the risks, does due diligence, crunches the numbers and thoughtfully arrives at the best answer. Most importantly, a leader must be decisive and confident in the final outcome.
- You must build your team. Surround yourself with experts in their field. Surround yourself with people who will challenge you, who will make you think and who will help you win. Surround yourself with people committed to moving the company forward.
- You must be passionate. You have to love what you do. It’s as simple as that. Your excitement will be contagious. Employees will be energized. The company will be energized. Customers will be energized. Passion instills passion.
- You must have character. This is crucial. No one will follow you if they don’t believe in you. No one will buy from you if they don’t believe that your company is aligned with their principals. A great leader is ethical, fair and represents the company in a positive light at all times.
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