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5 Qualities of a Strong Leader


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Here at ESM Prep, we take a fully holistic approach to education. We strive to not only help our students achieve academically, but to also help our students become leaders in their schools, communities, and future careers. Here are the five qualities that I value in the best leaders:

  1. Approachable - Good leaders exude a welcoming and inviting presence. They are inclusive and respectful of all people from all different types of backgrounds, and they are open to learning about differences and embracing them. In fact, a study of 20,000 people around the world (by Harvard Business Review with Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath) discovered that people who felt respected by their leaders "reported 56% better health and well-being, 1.72 times more trust and safety, 89% greater enjoyment and satisfaction with their jobs, 92% greater focus and prioritization, and 1.26 times more meaning and significance. Those that feel respected by their leaders were also 1.1 times more likely to stay with their organizations than those that didn’t."
  1. Accountable - Have you ever scheduled a meeting with someone only to have them show up unprepared, or not show up at all? Don't be that person. Good leaders hold themselves accountable to high standards; people notice when you are always on time, prepared, and present. Accountability also means owning up and taking responsibility for your actions and decisions, both good and bad.
  1. Authentic - Be yourself, not your social media self! The fastest and most effective way to build trust and respect from everyone in your life is to be honest and authentic in all of your interactions with people. Here is an amazing article from Forbes called "Ten Authentic Leadership Practices," that can be applied to your everyday life, and inspire you to live as your authentic self.
  1. Positive - This one seems obvious, but there have been many times I have seen leaders become negative, jaded, and cynical in their interactions with people. It's very easy to get bogged down in the weeds and fail to keep the long-term vision in mind. Good leaders have a great responsibility; the tone gets set from the top. The people around you will model your behavior, so if you conduct yourself everyday with general positivity they will do the same.
  1. Visionary - A good leader has a vision of the future, and can see the path to getting there. A high-performing leader has the ability (by using numbers 1-4 above) to inspire buy-in from their team, and lead people along the right path to achieve the shared vision.