The role of a great leader is not to give greatness to human beings, but to help them extract the greatness they already have within them (J. Buchan)
Despite of the constant battle between good and evil on planet Earth, our beautiful world is actually home to tens, hundreds, and thousands of game-changing leaders from all possible industries and nations, people who through their mere presence, charisma and continuous efforts in having the courage and capability of empowering others do make our world a much, much better place to be, to exist, to live, and to thrive. Great leaders come in every shape, and despite of their external attributes great leaders have all internalized a number of spiritually important characteristics, allowing for their light to shine bright, acting like lighthouses, and lifting everyone around them up.
All truly great leaders have what it takes to thrive in a constantly developing world. Despite of major obstacles in life, they do thrive – perhaps even more so during extremely challenging times, and through the wisdom they are capable of transforming and implementing in their leadership practices – in fact, in their whole lives which is all about expressing and living their mission, passion, and vision, and sharing their enthusiasm with everyone around them.
Furthermore, great and highly influential leaders throughout history, and contemporary, do share many common characteristics and personal values, marked by at least following traits:
All great leaders have passion, and their passion is contagious! We often think of passion as something that has to do with euphoria, although it is something that is more closely associated with great patience.
Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer. (Mark Z. Danielewski).
Therefore, all great leadership, having its roots in passion, is in fact suffering, and the ability to transform these feelings into constant, productive actions. All great leaders do this, and instead of complaining about things they cannot change, they do focus upon creating positive results by taking actions that ultimately lead to desired results, despite of barriers, challenges and obstacles.
Passion is Oxygen of the Soul (Bill Butler)
All great leaders know how to empower themselves and how to empower others. Needless to say, all great leaders focus upon their personal strengths, but also on helping others to tap into their personal strengths. A great leader does not have to be perfect, or a perfectionist, but rather to have the ability to see the greatness and potential in other individuals as well. Great leaders are not critics of other people´s lives or work, meaning that they do not waste energy upon demonstrating or digging into the faults of other people. Rather they do create extraordinary results in people around them through their pure example.
Great leaders do not tell you what to do. They show you how it is done.
All great leaders have a mission, enabling them to focus upon the desired outcome with a capability of sharing their vision in a way that invites people around them to a journey rather than using people in order to get to where they want to be. Great leaders are in fact always generous, and have a purpose of serving a higher, common goal rather than envisioning a future that they only personally can gain from. In addition to personal generosity, great leaders also know how to increase generosity within others which ultimately leads to increased generosity and benevolence within all of us. Great leaders know how to share and realize that increased abundance and wealth is something that everyone should have access to. Great leaders most definitely do not like to see people around them suffering.
Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.
All great leaders have integrity. They are accountable, and have mental stability. Throughout history, and even today, we do experience and sense leaders who have not developed these qualities within themselves, needless to mention any names in this context. You may have some ideas of leaders who in fact embody every aspect of what great leadership is NOT about. The greatest leaders of all times, regardless of their official leadership position or status in society, are trustworthy and take responsibility for both their actions and for their words.
There are times when a leader must move out ahead of the flock, go off in a new direction, confident that he/she is leading people the right way (Nelson Mandela)
Many people, especially the most ignorant ones, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you. Never apologize for being correct, or for being years ahead of your time. If you are right and you know it, speak your mind. Speak your mind even if you are a minority of one. The truth is still the truth. (Mahatma Gandhi).
All great leaders deserve their followers, and the support from people around them, through dedication and hard work. Great leaders do not buy followers, nor do they expect people to do things for them without the capability of giving anything in return. Our world knows many leaders who, unfortunately, want to forward themselves and their careers at the expense of others. This is not a characteristic of a truly great leader. A truly great leader is someone who is willing to put in the effort and the work demanded instead of trying to take advantage of the weaknesses he or she recognizes in other individuals.
Not everyone is a born leader. Many people are followers, and prefer to remain followers. If you are going to be a follower, follow people who are worth it and deserving. Follow people who are kind, happy, loving, successful, respected and grateful. In doing so, you are also leading others through your actions. Carmelia Ray
If you want to be a great leader, make sure to express integrity, authenticity, and accountability in your actions. Lead people through example, passion, dedication, hard work and action. Be prepared to literally get your hands dirty and to sweat, but also be prepared to delegate some of your workload to others because no great leader ever accomplished any great things completely on his or on her own.
To lead people, walk behind them (Lao Tzu)
All great leaders do respect all life. Great leaders never ever make the mistake of manipulating others through unstable behavior rather they do make a difference through their capability of standing behind their words and actions. They do not push people in a manipulative manner, but rather seek to find sustainable solutions serving all parties through subtle and diplomatic negotiation. True, great leadership starts with the individual respecting himself/herself in a way that allows for him/her to respect other people, including their right to humanity and privacy, rather than trying to push people in a narcissistic manner into directions of their ego´s choice.
The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise. Maya Angelou
True, great leadership is based upon inspiration, not domination, on co-operation, not intimidation, or on focusing upon only getting one´s personal wishes fulfilled (modified quote from William Arthur Wood).
The best of leaders lead with sophisticated influence rather than with a self-centered willingness to dominate.
All true great leaders know that life can sometimes be more than harsh, if not for themselves, but for others. And, all great leaders with an open heart (chakra) do feel the pain of others, sometimes making them suffer as much as the people who, in fact, are the ones who are suffering the most. Great leaders do often undergo a great amount of stress and challenges during their lives, but like phoenixes rising from the ashes they do know how to overcome these periods of extreme personal suffering and transforming this into purposeful actions, leadership practices marked by spirituality ultimately leading to creating unique, life- and society transforming results. Nevertheless, any truly great, remarkable leader ought to keep in mind the importance of not carrying all the problems of the world on their personal shoulders, but rather to learn how to observe the world and circumstances with objectivity and professionalism, allowing for them to participate in taking healing actions toward making the world a better, more sane place for all human beings and animals to live, in a healthy environment without excess pollution or other solutions that obviously do harm future generations, flora and fauna.
As already expressed, we all do know tens, hundreds, and thousands of leaders who do act in game-changing ways thanks to the fact that they have both realized the importance of their actions, and cared enough in order to actually take action and make a difference through their life work.
YOU can also be one of those leaders, by implementing the qualities of a great leader in your personal and professional life, and starting to make a difference in your everyday life rather than expecting, and waiting for, others to make those changes on your behalf.
Thank you for reading, for commenting, for reflecting, and most definitely for taking your personal leadership (or follower – you get to choose!) qualities seriously through daily actions and practices in your life, and for inspiring other individuals to equal actions. If you enjoyed this post, and found it helpful, please share it with your networks on social media.
And, if you still did not get enough, do take the time to watch this video about truly great leadership:
Andrew Solomon: How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are: