«The Qualities of a Leader

By Sandra Wiley

As a leader, understanding generational differences is essential. Yet we need to be careful not to make gross generalizations based on age.

Over the years, I’ve heard statements about the older generation’s inability to adapt to changing technology and a younger generation’s sense of entitlement. When we make these generalizations, we elevate age over an individual’s attributes.

People can be successful at any age. So I challenge everyone to stop judging people based on age and start looking at the qualities of a leader that really count.

Here are ones we should look for in our future and current leaders:

A passion for learning

The truly amazing people and the ones you want to surround yourself with are those that are self-learners. They read, absorb new ideas, talk to interesting people and share the things they learn with others around them.

Ability to develop relationships

Watch the people in your sphere of influence. Those that are able to connect with others, either one-on-one or in a group, are extremely valuable. The ability to build relationships with clients, your team and influencers in your community can win the game for your organization.

An innate desire to stay ahead of trends

Leaders love to explore new things. They might not jump on every idea that comes along, but they hunger to explore ideas that will keep them ahead of the competitors and bring the highest value to their clients.

A fearless decision maker

No matter what level a person is in the organization, they have a certain level of ability to make decisions. It might be as simple as when they start a project or what community events to attend to build a larger personal network. They need to be independent and fearless about their decisions.

They know and use their strengths

Anyone who really knows themselves well and uses their natural strengths to their advantage will progress faster and be happier in life. The sooner you quit trying to change yourself, the sooner you will grow in your career.

They know and use their team’s strengths

The other side of identifying and using your own strengths is surrounding yourself with team members – at home and work – that will support you with strengths that compliment yours.

A strong work ethic

Don’t confuse work ethic with the number of hours spent in the office. Work ethic means that you do what you say you will do and complete the tasks assigned to you promptly. You always look for the next step to ensure that you and your company are growing and becoming better.

Teaching and mentoring others

A leader is more interested in helping others than helping themselves. Everyone should aspire to teach and mentor others. This is about caring and concern toward your peers.

Take note that you should look for all of these traits as you hire, promote and build your organization. They have absolutely nothing to do with age. They have everything to do with building a team that is full of amazing individuals that will make a superb organization.»1

Sandra Wiley is president of Boomer Consulting, Inc.

1 WILEY, Sandra. The Qualities of a Leader. Leading Edge.

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