There perhaps is some truth to the phrase when people say “He is a born leader”, however, whether a person has the innate leadership qualities or has he developed those skills, will always be open for a debate. Even though that may be true, learning to be an effective leader is within everyone’s grasp, no matter if you lead the entire organization or just a small team.
Despite the differences in occupations and qualifications, there are certain qualities that great leaders have in common, but the true question to ask is, whether you see those traits in yourself? So, while keeping it really simple here are some of the impressive qualities that make a great leader.
Leaders are valued more when they have integrity. Their actions are direct reflections of their inner values because they are who they say they are. Great leaders understand the value and need of integrity and so they understand the difference between needing to be right and doing what is right. These leaders are simply true to being who they say they are in all their interactions, which inevitably reaps benefits in the business. It is necessary for a leader to have the trust of his employees and followers and hence integrity is a very important quality for a great leader to possess.
A good leader is not only confident about his actions but will also instill confidence amongst his followers by stating a clear and concise vision. This quality should not be confused with self-satisfaction and arrogance because as a leader you would want people to look up to you and not despise you. There are days in every business or occupation when things aren’t going right or as per the plan. This is when confidence is needed to assure everyone that we can make things happen, and setbacks are natural. A leader who remains calm and confident can lead a team in a better way as the team will also pick up on the same positive feeling, and will make efforts to move ahead.
If you know it very well in your head what you want to be accomplished, but if your people are not aware of those expectations or don’t understand them, then it is your fault for not expressing them, or more importantly not expressing them right. This is definitely more complex than it sounds because it is not very easy to explain something that is going on in your mind. When teams are able to achieve their goals effectively, a major credit goes to the leader who was able to communicate what was needed to be done adequately.
However, if it is a recurring problem wherein your team falls behind in achieving what you want them to, then perhaps you may want to focus on practicing your communication skills. Collaborating and communicating constantly, may sometimes seem as a waste of time, but it is very important to meet the objectives. Besides, communicating does not limit to relaying your expectations to your team, but the leader must also be able to understand what the followers are trying to communicate. Hence, to achieve maximum productivity, healthy lines of communication are needed.
In order to achieve continued success, there needs to be an environment of optimism. Every organization goes through the phases of ups and downs, but staying positive is what always keeps the company going. Great leaders are aware of the fact that unless they exhibit a positive attitude, they won’t have a happy and energized team. Even some simple things like providing snacks, healthy advice or an occasional beer can make a lot of difference in maintaining the balance. When the team is happy and cheerful, chances are they would work harder and do overtime when needed by giving their best for the organization.
There is a reason that an organization has a set of employees to do various kinds of jobs because no matter how efficient and brilliant someone might be, everything cannot be done by a single individual. As a leader, it is necessary to learn to trust your team with your ideas in order to make progress. Every great leader appreciates the value in the delegation of duties as it does more than simply reducing the workload. You might as well plan to do it by yourself but with time, tasks will begin to pile up, and the more you stretch yourself in getting things done it will only lower your quality of work.
Delegating is an important skill and it results in higher morale in the workplace because it shows you have confidence in others’ abilities. An important key here is understanding the strengths and qualities of your team members and accordingly assigning duties and responsibilities to them. This will give you enough time to focus on more important and higher level tasks, which cannot be delegated.
A quality that is very important for a leader is sticking to one’s commitments and promises. Unless you come across as a trustworthy leader who keeps his word, people are unlikely to have confidence in you. Additionally, if you expect and need your team to work hard and produce what is needed with quality, you will also need to work hard with maximum commitment and lead by example. Leaders who expect their employees to work long hours but they themselves are the first ones to leave the office, would never earn the respect and trust of their employees.
There is no greater motivation than seeing your boss’s commitment towards work and seeing him work along with everyone else. Such behaviors not only earn respect for the great leaders but also helps instill a good work ethic. However, as important it is to show your commitment towards work, it is equally important to keep promises. If you have promised a holiday or have declared a party, make sure you keep your word.
Some decisions are not straightforward, especially when leaders need to work with a finite set of resources to make maximum benefits. At times you may be forced to make decisions on the fly by deviating from your normal route. It is during these decisions that creativity or innovation becomes an important skillset for not only success but also for survival. Leaders those who can innovate, whether it is by thinking out of the box, using a new technology, or bringing about a change in the organization when situations are demanding, become great leaders. Creativity is what differentiates the followers from the leaders because it gives the leaders the ability to see things differently, which will make your team look at you for guidance during critical times.
Great leaders understand the importance to the organization of making the decision without waffling or wavering. Decisiveness is the quality of making appropriate decisions in a timely manner. While a great leader would not want to be too hasty and make a wrong decision, he wouldn’t either be wishy-washy in making a decision which later turns out to be right. Successful leaders are those who are clear and certain when they take decisions, and also understand their responsibility for those decisions as well.
Even though leaders come in different shapes and size, and despite vast differences in professions and background, these are few qualities which make them great.
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