I believe great leaders lead with their heart. They discover what matters and hone in on their purpose. When I think of the exceptional leaders in my life, I think of those who take the time to invest in others and have that special knack for changing culture, shaping and molding those around them and never hesitating to go out into the world to create change. I’m guessing most admirable leaders have an inner guidance that fosters their mission to live with a purpose bigger than themselves.
As I have read about and researched the qualities of great leaders, it seems they all possess similar characteristics:
- An open and determined heart that leads them to find their purpose.
- Ability to drive and execute their plans well, which is communicated clearly to their teams.
- A disposition of authenticity, a strong work ethic and a willingness to do what needs to be done without waiting on someone else.
- A knack for surrounding themselves with great people, thereby creating an environment of openness in which they solicit feedback from their team. They are passionate and build strong commitments through involvement and ownership.
- The ability to energize people and help others grow through coaching and development, which strengthens their teams.
- Being “others centric” — my favorite quality — and having a heart for inspiring and serving others.
We all strive to be our best selves. Sometimes, I wonder if this is where the breakdown occurs. As we read books and study great leaders, we must remember to be authentic to ourselves and not attempt to emulate leaders of the past.
It is important to dig deep in order to understand ourselves and our purpose, then think through the qualities of great leaders and how those qualities can impact us. In the end, exceptional leaders want to leave a legacy through the lives they lead and be remembered for how they led, uniquely and with deep purpose.
– Dana Dorris is the first two-time female president of the Kennesaw Business Association. She is an independent insurance agent and senior partner with Risk & Insurance Consultants of North Georgia.