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What Makes a Great Leader?

What are the characteristics of a great leader?  How do leaders influence work performance and productivity?  A recent study from the University of Texas at San Antonio found that great leaders communicate clearly, cultivate creativity, and foster good interpersonal relationships.  While ineffective leaders are abusive and humiliate staff in front of others, confident and effective leaders inject the power of positive thinking and build trust based upon mutual respect.  Ultimately, when the relationships are positive, confidence and creativity grow in both leaders and their staff.  What kind of leader are you?

Clearly the way we relate and interact with others impacts our ability to lead and influence others.  Using our power and authority in a controlling and aggressive way only creates stress and conflict in our work environment.  Leaders should be humble, acknowledge their mistakes, and commit to changing negative behaviors.  Treating people as equals regardless of their position imbues tremendous respect and loyalty from everyone on the team.  People respond well when they feel appreciated, valued, and have their contribution to the success of the business acknowledged.

Our relationships continue to pave the way for our success as a leader both at work and home.  When we deal effectively with conflict, communicate constructively, and accept alternative ways of doing things, we position ourselves for success.  Great leaders listen well and accept constructive feedback.  They ask questions, wait for the answers, and implement suggestions made by others.  We learn nothing by defending our position, but grow tremendously when we recognize the benefit of a different perspective or a new approach.  Effective leaders treat people with respect and encourage creativity and thinking outside the box.  Lastly, great leaders are consistent in their words and actions which builds trust and loyalty.  They genuinely care about the well-being of their people and are capable of being compassionate at times of hardship.  The bottom line is that great leaders focus first on the people and then on the task at hand.

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