Depending on whom you ask there are an infinite amount of answers to what makes a great leader, here is my take.
Deciding to be a leader. By far the most important thing about being a leader is deciding, you are going to be a leader. We all have to start at some point. And when we choose to be a leader some will have natural abilities that may exceed our own, but if you don’t decide to be a leader, especially if you are in a leadership or management role, you will be poor at it. Leadership is not something the majority can do naturally. I am not a natural leader. I have worked hard to learn and deliberately apply the techniques as long as they are congruent with who I am as a person. And even going so far to change the detracting things about who I am to be better in a leadership role.
Understanding who you are, self-awareness. You could also say this is about being your genuine self and a genuine leader. The hard part about this is if you don’t know who you are and what you strive to be, you will emulate those leaders around you. Many times this can work, but an equal amount of times you will try to emulate a behavior that is not true to who you are, and it will come off as forced and counterfeit. I won’t go into what this will do to you as a leader other than to say, you will lose trust and your days as a leader will be limited if you continue down this road.
Take time to know who you are. Many resources on the Internet will help tell you about yourself if you can’t do it by analyzing yourself. One mistake most of us make when taking these personality and leadership surveys it to answer the scenario how we want to handle it or how we think we should. I can be difficult to answer honestly, but if you do you can find out much about who you are and the things you do well so you can work on them and do them phenomenally!
Self-Education. You can take many courses about being a leader, but they won’t get you to where you need to be. Trust me, I teach leadership all the time, and most people are in the class hoping the information will naturally absorb into them and they will apply the lessons automatically. Unfortunately, it does not work that way. There needs to be deliberate action and effort to learn and apply leadership lessons. There are great books; not only about leadership but also about everything you want to be in life. Even just about appreciating life. Appreciating life is why we strive to be great leaders; to make those we lead and ourselves lead happy and fulfilling lives.