Outstanding leadership traits for successful leaders
Lao Tzu (571 BC), an ancient Chinese philosopher and writer
Goal setting that is aligned with business strategy is a critical piece of effective leaders. Good leaders know how to motivate, inspire, and help their team members to achieve greater heights together. Their influence is a lot more than their titles. I've seen some people who are people managers -- they are managers who oversee the daily operations of their departments -- but only delegating the work. The best leaders are those who just start with people management but area also willing to roll up their sleeves to engage, mentor, motivate and help their team members be as successful as possible. They are strategic and tactical in their thought processes. They are leaders who can get things done without losing the momentum.
The most successful leaders have a multitude of leadership traits that they accel at. And they are constantly working to improve how the perform and operate. Below I've put together some leadership traits I've seen as critical to success though there are many other important traits.
These are the intrinsic capabilities of any good leader. These are learned through both experience, training and mentorship. Effective leaders demonstrate a multitude of strong leadership skills to be successful. Qualities of a good leader include mentorship, the ability to prioritize, and take responsibility both when things go well and not as well. Their leadership style can inspire others. They have good communication skills. We've narrowed the list down to seven key areas that good leadership should have. One trait that really separates out great people is that a leader must have emotional intelligence.
Successful leaders know how to set specific goals while providing clear expectations. These goals are aligned with the top-level growth and vision set by business leadership. The goals drive alignment and support the achievement of that vision. They also establish clear expectations through the creation of action plans and contingency plans. They know that their goals are not impossible to achieve.
The leaders also work with their peers to ensure that the goals that they are setting are aligned with other organizations within the business. This ensures that all teams across the business at varying levels are all aligned and operating together based on the same focus. Team members are also aware that both employees and the company will benefit when goals are met.
Business leaders know how to work together with his or her team. They take the initiative to know everyone on their teams, building relationships and engaging them. They set the expectation within their team about joint support. The teams are not working as individuals but together to solve for the overall goals of the business.
They serve as a source of support for the team when needed. They make sure that everyone is communicating and working as a team. They encourage participation and teamwork.
Dissent is one of the critical leadership traits. Its ok to disagree and more than just ok, disagreement can often challenge each team member to jointly enhance solutions or tackle problems in different ways. I've seen disagreement both be collaborative or detrimental depending on how it is used. The best way has always been professionally with respect. Taking emotion out of it. Conversely, I've seen dissent amongst team members become caustic when the professional respect is not there.
Leaders create good relationships between themselves and others. They attract and retain people by valuing their contribution. They know that team building goes hand in hand with nurturing relationships. I've seen great leaders setup 1:1 meetings not only with their direct reports but also with folks below their directs. This helps them learn more about how things are progressing. As well as helps build enhanced relationships. A strong company culture goes hand in hand with this.
I've also seen social settings be another great way to nurture relationships -- a happy hour, or other team experience is a way to get to know the members on a more casual basis.
When things are not going according to plan, successful leaders use their problem-solving skills to come up with solutions. Often times a solution for a more complex problem could be a series of things. Some easier. Some more difficult. In this case leaders help define prioritization for their teams. They make sure that everyone works together to solve the problem and in the right priorities.
They encourage the team members to find their own solutions to any problems. They seek advice from their team members.
A leader knows that he or she cannot do everything alone. They know that delegation is an important part of the job and knows that the key to success is delegating tasks to the right individuals.
Delegation enables them to focus on other tasks.
Mentorship is when a more experienced person provides guidance, learning and shared leadership experiences to help the other less experienced person be more successful. Leaders share anecdotes, problem solving idea
This is one of the most critical leadership traits that is not often used. I recently had a leader ask me what is my leadership style ... I replied that I see my role as an enabler. Enabling team members to be and do their best. Working together to help them achieve goals.
Probably one of the most overused terms that many folks don't fully understand. But in short, integrity is having high morals and honesty. Successful leaders value integrity above all else. They live their lives with honesty and sincerity. They know that integrity will make everything much easier. They are dedicated to leading their lives with integrity. This drives trust, and as leaders, we set the foundation for others to follow and act.
Effective leaders realize that they are human. They know that they make mistakes. They admit that they make mistakes. They know that this is an important part of the learning process. They learn to improve themselves. As Psychology Today defines it, " Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence is generally said to include a few skills: namely emotional awareness, or the ability to identify and name one’s own emotions; the ability to harness those emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes both regulating one’s own emotions when necessary and helping others to do the same."
Effective leadership qualities are those that meld a multitude of different traits together. Qualities are not mutually exclusive but an aligned combination depending on the situation. Situational leadership methods should always be used to manage how to best use leadership traits to be most successful and create the greatest impact to both the business and their teams.
These 7 characteristics of a good leader are really important and can help anyone aiming to be a great leader.
What qualities do you believe are the most effective leadership traits?
American researcher, author, speaker and consultant focused
on the subject of business management and company sustainability and growth