Successful leaders are dedicated to their craft and actively work toward their goals— whether it’s meeting deadlines, benchmarks, or tackling a passion project outside of work. They don’t have the narrow mindset of coming into work, doing their assigned tasks and leaving. They think bigger: how systems could be better, what new products the world needs, how morale could improve, what connections could be made.
They don’t mind coming in early, staying late or doing a little extra work here and there to go above and beyond, but they don’t let work control their entire lives because work-life balance is important to them.
They stay hungry for knowledge
They literally can’t get enough when it comes to learning about their work and industry as a whole, so they stay on the hunt for new information about their evolving field. Sharpening their skills helps them stay competitive within their market.
They face storms with confidence
Even for the most easygoing of us, calmness is a practice rather than a personality trait. It’s worth cultivating; a person who treats every little obstacle as a world-ending crisis exhausts his team, his managers, and himself. Every day isn’t going to be a good one, but they know that it’s how you react that counts. Here’s our advice on how to stay calm in a crisis.
“There may be days where the future of your brand is worrisome and things aren’t going according to plan. This is true with any business, large or small, and the most important thing is not to panic. Part of your job as a leader is to put out fires and maintain team morale. Keep up your confidence level, and assure everyone that setbacks are natural and the important thing is to focus on the larger goal. As the leader, by staying calm and confident, you will help keep the team feeling the same. Remember, your team will take cues from you, so if you exude a level of calm damage control, your team will pick up on that feeling. The key objective is to keep everyone working and moving ahead,” Prive writes.
They motivate others
Success can be infectious, and passion definitely is. Successful people know that it’s a two-way street — no one does anything alone — and that they benefit when others are fired up too. As a result, they’re great motivators even if they’re not especially charismatic.
The 2015 paper “Leading Now: Critical Capabilities for a Complex World” by Harvard Business Publishing explores why this important.
“Leaders who excel at inspiring engagement know how to foster a culture that creates meaningful connections between employees’ aspirations and values and those of the organization. Workers and managers who feel engaged are more creative and productive on the job,” the paper says.
They possess the “Big Five”
Social science is constantly evolving, so we might not yet know everything about how they work, but the particular personality traits known as “The Big Five” have been widely studied because they’re so common among successful people.
Eben Harrell explains how “The Big Five” or “The Five-Factor Model” is often defined, in the Harvard Business Review.
“Often called the ‘Big Five,’ the five-factor model is a set of personality traits derived from a statistical study of words commonly used to describe psychological characteristics across cultures and languages. The categories are openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism,” Harrell writes.
Not surprisingly, leadership ability and success is correlated with nearly all the Big Five.
If you wonder how you score on the Big Five, there are fun tests online that aren’t scientific but could help you understand your own approach a little better.
Although there has reportedly been a debate about how much the “Big Five” apply to everyone, these personality traits are sure to have an effect on performance at work. Just don’t feel like you’re at a significant disadvantage if you don’t have all of them because there are other characteristics that help you shine at work as well. Introverts, for instance, don’t have to change their personalities to pretend to be extroverts just to get ahead; they can just reach out a little more while preserving crucial time alone. The only thing you have to do: keep polishing your strengths.