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Traits of an Extraordinary Leader

You are a leader and the world is awaiting your instructions. This is true whether you manage a team in a company, lead a classroom, or run a household. It’s also true even if you have no official leadership position at all. 

You don’t need to be in the top box of an organizational chart or president of the PTA to be a leader. Regardless of your current role or position, you are always leading the people around you. You lead long before you have a title that spells it out.

So today, recognize your leadership and take responsibility for the influence you have on others. Why not focus on lifting up the people around you? Don’t worry about being a perfect leader – that doesn’t exist. There is not just one type of great leader, and no one gets it all right, all the time. Just pick one or two key leadership traits, and focus on developing them within yourself.
Traits of an Extraordinary Leader
Here are the top traits I see in extraordinary leaders:
  1. BE BENEVOLENT: Have an authentic interest in helping people be their best, and helping them live their happiest lives.
  2. HAVE MORE THAN A WORK ETHIC — SHOW A TRUE LOVE FOR YOUR WORK: If you’re the leader, you’re the pacesetter in the race. And remember, winning a race means running hard and often requires a sprint to the finish. Don’t expect others to do or care more than you do. Your passion is contagious and will shine through to those around you. Show up. Show up. Show up.
  3. BE AUDACIOUSLY GOAL-ORIENTED: You only get what you go after, so be bold, be specific, and share your goals with others. Paint a bull’s-eye for yourself and your team, and share your progress. Don’t be afraid to publicly address areas where you didn’t succeed – as long as you put in place an action plan to course correct.
  4. BE POSITIVE, BE CONFIDENT, AND DIMINISH DRAMA: Set the right tone. When you are both positive and confident, others will pick up your vibe and be willing to follow. Shine the light on what you want to grow, which is progress and passion, not drama. Never talk about people, talk to people. Ensure that others do the same. 
  5. BE AUTHENTIC AND SELF-AWARE: You need to be you. But you also need to respect other people’s individual beliefs and be aware of how they are experiencing you. You can be your authentic self while still being respectful of others. Don’t try to use “authenticity” as an excuse for being a jerk.
  6. CARE MORE ABOUT MAKING IT RIGHT: When it comes to people, it’s not about being right, it’s about making it right. I am not talking about the difference between true right and wrong. Clearly, it’s important to be in the right, ethically speaking. I am talking about letting go of the useless “I told you so” or “I just want to prove how smart I am” type of being right. Everyone wants to feel heard, valued, and like their opinions matter – an extraordinary leader recognizes that and acts accordingly.
Read more about ways to hone your leadership strategy in my upcoming book, Find Your Extraordinary.
Jessica Herrin is the CEO & Founder of the Stella & Dot Family of Brands and author of the upcoming book, Find Your Extraordinary, launching May 3rd (Crown Business Publishing). CHECK OUThelloextraordinary.com for a special offer and gift with pre-order.

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