What makes leaders successful? And what does it mean to truly be a “leader”. Far too often, we confuse “managers” with “leaders” but there is a difference. For me personally, Leadership is about inspiring, motivating, getting others on the journey and ultimately delivering on those business goals without forcing the cause.

But in order to do that, there are few key traits (not limited to, amongst others) that I feel are necessary:

Displaying Empathy – being able to put yourself in the other person’s situation and seeing things from their perspective. It is about appreciating the challenges they might be facing, what drives them, why they react in certain ways in certain situations. Seems easy enough, but it is hard to do especially during a heated discussion or when things are not necessarily going the way we would like them to. By stopping to pause – and *really* putting ourselves in the their shoes, could be all the difference in building positive and productive relationships.

Being Authentic – by this, I mean being true to oneself. When we remain true to ourselves without any facades, we create a greater sense of trust and integrity as viewed by those around us. In other words, “what you see, is what you get”. Changing our behaviors to suit the tide or way the wind blows is a surefire way to lose trust and credibility.

Taking Responsibility and Accountability – seemingly obvious, but taking responsibility and accountability are key to successful leadership. Not only from taking full responsibility and accountability for our actions, but also from being able to hold others accountable and responsible for their actions. The latter being much harder to put into practice.