Do you know the 4 most admired characteristics we can identify in leaders we admire?

At Aileron, a private business accelerator built to help entrepreneurs, we learned the following are the most admired traits in our leaders:

  1. Honesty
  2. Forward-thinking
  3. Inspiring
  4. Competent

It was also at Aileron that I learned the following 2 ways we can immediately start to build our leadership skills.

What kind of leader will you be1. Write down the kind of leader you intend to be.

Most of us are crafting our leadership style over time, guided by our underlying purpose. And no matter where we land in terms of our leadership skills, we need to be able to capture that place, and have a vision for where we want to be in the future.

We need a starting point, and a plan for building our leadership, just as we would intentionally do within our businesses.

So what are some of the aspects I am striving for when it comes to leadership?

  • Realistic perspective—one that is grounded in reality
  • Bold thinking
  • Continual learner
  • Ability to make connections with other leaders
  • Confident, but modest
  • Ability to help others harness creativity
  • Courage in decision-making
  • Enable others; take others to a new place

That’s a long list, and I plan on making changes over time. For example, much of this list is focused on myself, but leadership is just as much about helping and benefiting others.

2. To find a mentor…simply ask.

A common thread among effective leaders is that they have mentors—people they can turn to for empowerment and honesty.

At Aileron, we also talked about these benefits that mentors bring us:

  • A level of expertise, talent (or wisdom) that you can’t necessarily hire
  • Most likely she has a goal to give you advice based “in reality”
  • She helps you look outward, as well as forward
  • She asks the tough questions
  • She keeps you accountable

Mentors provide a valuable way to immediately start to better assess and develop our leadership.

And even if we already have mentors, we are tasked with helping others in our organizations also grow through mentor relationships of their own. When I think of my mentors, I know with confidence they have my best interest at heart. That can sometimes help to remember when I hear the hard-to-hear truth from them.

How can we start to develop these valuable mentee-mentor relationships?

All we have to do is ask.

I value my mentor relationships as long-term partnerships, and that is something I have learned over time. I try not to take that time for granted since I would never want to do anything to damage those relationships. After all, my mentors are much more intelligent and wiser than me, and just as busy. The value that can come from just an hour or two per month from a mentor would surprise you.

Effective leaders are thirsty to grow as people, keeping the bigger objective in mind as they connect with others…

What’s stopping you from getting started today?

READ MORE: If you like this article you will want to read “The Integrity of Payables

This blog was written by Kim Sykes
Kim Sykes

Kim Sykes is a marketer and content creator at Edoc Service, Inc., a total virtual company.