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Leaders are not born, but rather they are made. Becoming a strong leader requires a combination of characteristics, qualities, practices, and learned skills, not to mention a commitment to growth, reflection, and development. If you want to become the great leader that you have always hoped you would be, here are five key elements that you will need along the way.

Prioritizing Accountability

What you do matters so much more than what you say. Great leadership requires an exemplary level of accountability. A lack of follow-through or a lack of credibility is a surefire way to brandish your trustworthiness, reputation, and credibility. Exemplary leaders commit to keeping their word and holding themselves accountable, regardless of the consequences.

Dressing the Part

While outward appearances should not impact the perception of leadership, it has a far greater influence than many people realize. Your physical presentation will impact how others perceive you and trust you. If you want others to take you seriously, you need to look the part. Your appearance must align with your role, company, and professional image.

Investing in Individuals

Great leaders learn how to support their employees as members of teams and as individuals. This is a key element that you need to incorporate on your journey to elite levels of leadership. Whether you invest in professional development, invest in your employees’ journeys and growth, or mentor staff, you need to support your team as individual people. This commitment to others speaks volumes about your values and character.

Showing Mutual Respect Internally and Externally

While many companies have mastered the art of customer service, this fair and respectful treatment does not always trickle into the organization and its employees. As a leader, you need to set the tone of establishing and prioritizing mutual respect and caring on all levels of the organization, both internally and externally. If you want to be seen as a great leader, you must push for a respectful culture and positive workplace, starting with you and your behavior.

Soliciting Feedback

When you exist at the top of the organizational chart, it can be difficult for others to offer you feedback; however, great leaders find ways to solicit feedback proactively and frequently. This means pushing for transparency and inviting feedback, especially when it is negative. It is not easy to establish this culture; however, it is vitally important to your organization and your personal and professional growth.

Truly great leaders rely on their actions and not empty words to speak for them. If you commit to your personal and professional development and incorporate these five essential elements, you’ll find yourself on the path to becoming a truly exceptional leader.