Inspiring greatness is all about leading by example. But what do the leaders of today have in common? The simple answer to that is not a lot. Stereotypical leadership using to bring up an image of a buttoned-up person in a suit carrying a big briefcase. Now, leaders come in all shapes and sizes. She could be the next JK Rowling. He could be the next Steve Jobs. She could be wearing jeans. He could be walking barefoot.

What really matters isn’t how leaders look. It’s that they are able to create enthusiasm, confidence, and empowerment in others. They need to be inspiring to the people around them.

So while all leaders are different, there are some things that great leaders do every day. Here are five keys to effective leadership.

1. Face challenges.

The best leaders are brave enough to face up to challenging situations and deal with them in a real and honest way. Maybe there’s a problem in business that you need to deal with or you’re struggling to get your team back on track. Whatever it is, an effective leader can deal with these challenges openly.

Nobody likes unpleasant surprises, so always be open and honest with your colleagues and team. Have regular communications with people, and be open with good and bad news. If you do this, it’ll go a long way towards making people feel like you trust them. Employees and followers need to see their leaders out there confronting reality head-on.

2. Win trust.

Trust is everything, whether it’s a professional or personal relationship. But employees, in particular, are more loyal and enthusiastic when they work in an environment with people they trust. Now don’t worry, because building trust can be done in so many ways. Your first step is showing people you care about them.

Ask people questions. And in an office, don’t just ask questions about work. Ask people what they’re doing at the weekend, pick up on something and take that conversation further. Take an interest. It’s also important to let your employees or co-workers know that you’re interested in their success too, so discuss their career paths with them regularly.

If someone does something wrong, don’t correct them in anger. Calmly explain the situation and their behavior or actions weren’t correct and outline what you expect in the future. When people know you’re aren’t going to tell them off and that you have their best interests at heart, they’ll trust you.

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3. Be authentic.

If you’re not the boss, don’t try to be like one. People will be able to tell if you’re pretending to be someone you’re not. This could make them question what else about you might be fake or inauthentic.

Never leave the house without red lipstick? Go for it. Do you catch up on the big fashion news every morning? Tell them about it! Use your strengths and your individual interests and characteristics to develop your personal leadership style.

4. Earn respect.

When you conduct yourself in a responsible way and demonstrate the traits you want to see in others, you earn the respect of people around you. If you don’t “walk the talk”, you’re not going to get very far as a leader. This will also help people to have more pride in your company or business, which is a key part of engagement. Plus, people are less likely to do business with you if they don’t respect you.

5. Stay curious.

The best leaders are always committed to learning more. They’re constantly looking for new ideas, insights and information. If you want to be a great leader, you need to understand innovation and always be on the lookout for new approaches, knowledge and people that might be able to give you an advantage.

But the thing that makes even the great leaders better? Curiosity. Be interested in things around you that contribute to your vision.

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