The one quality that all leaders have in common is that they have a clear and exciting vision for the future. This is something that only the leader can do. Only the leader can think about the future and plan for the future each day.
Take the Time to Think
Excellent leaders take the time to think through and develop a clear picture of where they want the organization to be in one, three and five years. Leaders have the ability to communicate this vision in such a way that others "buy in" and eventually see the vision as belonging to them.
Motivate People to Give of Their Best
It is the vision of the future possibilities, of what can be, that arouses emotion and motivates people to give of their best. The most powerful vision is always qualitative, aimed at and described in terms of values and mission rather than quantitative, which is described in terms of money and numbers.
Money is Important
Of course, money is important, but the decision and commitment to "be the best in the business" is far more exciting.
Keep Your Cool
Another key to leadership success is for you to "keep your cool." A study at Stanford Business School examined the qualities that companies look for in promoting young managers toward senior executive positions, especially the position of Chief Executive Officer. The study concluded that the two most important qualities required for great success were, first, the ability to put together and function as part of a team. Since all work is ultimately done by teams, and the managers' output is the output of the team, the ability to select team members, set objectives, delegate responsibility and finally, get the job done, was central to success in management.
Practice is Everything
The second quality required for rapid promotion was found to be the ability to function well under pressure, and especially in a crisis. Keeping your cool in a crisis means to practice patience and self-control under difficult or disappointing circumstances.
People Are Watching
The character and quality of a leader is often demonstrated in these critical moments under fire, when everyone is watching, observing and privately taking notes. As Rudyard Kipling once said, "If you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, then the world is yours and all that's in it".
Your job as a leader is to have a clear vision of where you want to go and then to keep your cool when things go wrong, as they surely will.