Being a leader isn’t easy – if it were, everyone would be one. Leading others comes with more responsibility and accountability in all that you do, at all times. With that being said, it’s important to sharpen the traits that will mold you into the kind of leader you want to be.

At baseline, every leader should have honesty and integrity but in order to succeed and inspire others to respect you and grow your business, there are a few traits every good leader should work to develop and perfect.

Vision – Leaders have to have vision in order to get anything done. Leaders are “future focused,” meaning they are always thinking “what if?” or “how can we?” when it comes to getting things done. Simply put, leaders think bigger than most. In order for things to get done they must cast their vision, ensure they have the right people in place to bring the vision to life, hold them accountable to do so, and know when to get out of the way and watch it happen. Every goal starts with a vision, and it’s a leader’s job to follow that goal from start to finish.

Emotional Intelligence – Of course every leader needs to be well-versed and knowledgeable in the field they work in, but beyond that lies emotional intelligence. The most effective leaders have developed emotional intelligence skills, which allow them to work better with a wider variety of people. This skill in itself will benefit you in and outside of work as you grow in your leadership role. With businesses rapidly changing, leaders who can understand and apply the power of other people’s emotions along with their own, are able to facilitate higher levels of collaboration and productivity which puts them at a much higher advantage over those who don’t.

Effective Communication Skills – We’ve all heard the phrase “communication is key” and in a leadership role, communication is imperative in order to achieve success. It’s important that a leader knows how to communicate with all people, but just as importantly, a leader has to be able to listen actively. In today’s world of “multi-tasking” learning how to focus on the person in front of you and what they’re saying is needed, and also hard to do. Savvy leaders understand that there is optimum power in listening, asking questions, and then speaking if something needs to be said.

Author John Maxwell states, “Those who follow a crowd, will never be followed by a crowd.” As you continue to grow your leadership skills commit to thinking big, surrounding yourself with great people, over communicating, and always remember to apply the golden rule.

Stephanie Chung is a Certified FocalPoint Business Coach based in Dallas. An award-winning executive coach, trainer and advisor, Chung is backed by more than 25 years of team management, business development and sales leadership experience.