Being a leader is one of the toughest jobs in business. Every leader thinks they are a good leader but as readers will know most fail at the basic qualities. Some people are born leaders, the rest have to learn their trade. This article will examine the key characteristics of being a good leader that inspires the people who follow them.
Communication is a key skill that most leaders fail at. Being able to communicate effectively is knowing what you want to accomplish in your head and being able to explain it to a colleague. It is impossible to lead a team if they can’t follow your requests and ideas. Another factor is how you treat your staff, are you polite and patient or abrupt and raise your voice? If your team doesn’t like approaching you it will have a detrimental effect on your projects. One member of your team might have the answer to the problem but will be too hesitant to approach you. Treat your team with respect and they will endeavor to work hard for you.
Confidence is a strong virtue for leadership. In an article about leadership qualities Barri Rafferty, CEO, Ketchum North America states that “I feel I have to show up with swagger and assertiveness, yet always try and maintain my Southern upbringing, which underscores kindness and generosity.” People want to follow a leader who is confident because it rubs off on them and how they treat their work. Confidence is not just about swagger it is the conviction in ability. While projecting confidence is good, being over-confident can have the opposite effect and lead you to make rash mistakes. A good leader needs to know when to hold back.
Being organized is essential to being a great leader. If you can’t keep a good grasp of a project then it can fall apart. The buck always stops with the person in charge. FXCM advises that keeping a journal is a good way to keep organized and keep track of progress whatever industry you’re working in. The site uses the famous quote from Winston Churchill to emphasis this point: “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” A journal is great way to see the history of your decisions and the ones that have worked and the others that haven’t.
Most of our readers have been stuck in a meeting led by a leader who doesn’t want to there. Like confidence, a leader’s passion reflects onto their team. A team leader with passion will lead to an engaged and empowered team, led with a clear vision. Being passionate isn’t just about banging the drum of your project; it is being prepared for the project and striving for it to succeed. A passionate leader is someone who makes sure the job gets done, sometimes without taking any credit.
A great leader knows what they know and is aware of what they don’t know. Nobody gets everything right and being able to take advice and feedback from your staff will install a lot of trust. Humility is often seen as a weakness or a sign that the manager is a pushover. Yet reports state that leaders with humility are often also internally driven for excellence. It may sound corny, but being a leader is like being the head of a family. You must be able to listen as well as talk. If your employees sense that you are part of the team and not just in charge of it they will work harder for you.
Most of these points will seem obvious to you, yet it is important to remember how often a leader forgets one when the going get’s tough. Most importantly a good leader is someone who will overcome difficulties and mistakes to drive their team to success.