What makes a strong leader?

What are the personal attributes of a strong leader?  Is it perfectionism, flawlessness, courage, trust, charisma?   Leadership is a mindset in action not just a title.  Leadership isn’t something that anyone can give you—it has to be earned and claimed for yourself.

In the 30 years as a business owner, I have worked with a multitude of employees - going through ups and downs, triumphs and failures.  What I learned as I navigated these relationships is truly profound.  Some of the attributes that I thought were characteristic of a leader were not serving me or my staff.  Spending years learning and perfecting my work and my business gave me knowledge and training that I wanted to pass on to the rest of my team.  Their work was monitored very closely and every detail reviewed to ensure my customers were continuing to get the service and professionalism they were used to and deserved. 

When I heard the complaint of “micromanaging” from a past employee, I quickly negated it as a character flaw.  I felt my management style was a safeguard against mistakes and a way to be proactive.  Over time I came to realize that there is more than one way to finish a project, complete a task or communicate an idea.  It occurred to me that giving my team the tools, knowledge and support they needed, and trusting them, produced even better results.  We all began to feel a relief of stress and a flow of ideas and collaboration.