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Have you ever disliked your boss? Well, you probably had a good reason. That particular boss may have had a thing or two to learn about leadership.

We all lead in some form of another. We can lead our children to the bus stop or lead our friends to choose the movie we want to see. We’re all leaders. But that doesn’t mean we’re all good at leadership.

That awful boss of yours may have been a boss at organizing group lunches, but fell flat when it came to delegating difficult tasks. He could lead, but he wasn’t a true leader.

On the other hand, true leaders can usually lead to any aspect of their lives. They also share certain characteristics that others do not possess.

Here’s what true leadership means (and how to spot it):

1. Leading Others Towards a Common Goal

When a true leader is in charge of your team, you feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself. You understand your role and its importance in the overall business goals. True leadership means that everyone plays a part in the victory. 

2. Inspiring Others to Be Better

If you were in a dead-end job, you probably wouldn’t be motivated to work late or try harder. The “extra mile” becomes irrelevant. Real leaders understand that people need personal goals as motivation. A great leader will address each of her team’s individual goals and how she can help them achieve those goals. 

3. Leading by Example

True leadership doesn’t cut out of work early or try to game the system. They give the job their all and inspire you to do the same. This person exudes honesty and integrity along with every other feature they expect to see from their team. Of course, leaders are also human, but they are generally known to do the right thing. 

4. Being Prepared for Anything

It’s easy to lead when everything is going smoothly. But those who are especially skilled leaders shine when the deck is stacked against them. If you want to show off your leadership prowess, prepare for inevitable crises and you’ll be poised to be a hero when disaster strikes. 

5. Being Curious by Nature

Creative problem solving is a skill that most good leaders possess. These are the people everyone turns to when there’s a problem because a true leader will see things from a slightly different perspective. Some people have a natural ability to approach problems with a creative mind, but this is a skill that can be learned

6. Trusting in Their Team

The quickest way to getting your team to turn against you is through distrust. Confident leaders trust their team to do the work they have been assigned. This means no micromanaging. Give your team a little space and they are more likely to do their jobs well.  

7. Being Optimistic

We all know that an outright doom and gloom approach to management isn’t going to motivate anyone, but a surprising number of bosses still let negativity seep into their management style. Even when the odds seem against you, a true leader stays positive. 

Another recommendation would be to consider an Online BA in Organizational Leadership Degree. This will help with some of the above-mentioned characteristics.

Think about these characteristics and how many of them your least-favorite boss possessed. And now that it’s your time to lead, decide which type of leader you want to be remembered as.  


Written By
Emily Walters is an experienced content writer. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Communication in Journalism. She has written about an array of topics, from business, healthcare, and technology to travel, culinary, education and even fashion & lifestyle. In her free time, Emily enjoys traveling, training for half marathons, and cooking for her family.

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