Are you doing what it takes to be a Good Leader?
What are your Leadership qualities?
How would you define a Leader?
Blog May 2020
There is so much talk about ‘What makes a great leader?’ A great leader will always take time to evaluate, reflect, innovate and importantly listen to his/her employees. However, it doesn’t stop there. Leadership can be described in many forms.
“Leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves. Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals.”
A good leader will always start with themselves to ensure that he/she leads the path in a way that will leave employees wanting to do more. A powerful inspirational Leader is someone who has a good vision; will go to lengths; will show the way- walk the talk alongside.
What are some of the essential qualities and skills that make a Great Leader?
As I share with you some of the qualities, take time to reflect on your own leadership qualities.
What qualities and skills do you have that make to a great leader?
Which ones are missing?
Where do your strengths and weaknesses lie?
Humility, Integrity & Honesty
A great leader is always selfless, one who will generally always think about those who flow.
The majority of great leaders tend to adopt different styles of leadership which tend to put a lot of prominence on problem-solving and team dynamics instead of focusing on self-promotion.
Honesty and integrity are truly two important ingredients of the recipe which make the icing on the cake- the Great Leader.
If you do not have or lack the qualities of integrity and honesty yourself, as a leader, then how can you expect your followers to show integrity and be honest? It is a two-way street. Great Leaders have strong values core beliefs and work ethics to succeed and without sticking to their values and core beliefs and without ethics, good leadership is very unlikely to be possible.
Empathy & Inspiring Other
Great Leaders have the ability to show and understand empathy.
I believe that Leaders should develop empathy with the people they work with. In my own experiences and talking to others, most leaders still very much follow a dictatorial style and seem to neglect empathy altogether. It is because it is often perceived as a weakness to show empathy.
Due to the lack of empathy leaders fail to make a closer connection with their employees. After all, we are all unique, and what greater skill to have as a leader when you are empathetic and understanding towards others. Understanding the problems and feelings of the pain of others is the first step to becoming an effective leader.
One of the challenges that leaders face is to persuade others. However, this can only work if you as the leader are inspirational – one that inspires your employees/team members by setting a good example. Being that role model.
When the going gets tough, and the tough get going, employees/team members will look up to you, and see how you react to the situation. It is so simple, if you see and experience you handling a difficult situation well, then they will be inspired and be drawn to you, even more, building stronger relationships and the desire to go above and beyond.
A leader’s positive approach should be visible through his/her actions and have the ability to demonstrate calmness under pressure and keep up the level of focus and motivation. I believe that, If you are successful in inspiring your subordinates, you can easily overcome any current and future challenges easily.
”If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more- you are a leader” John Quincy Adams
Commitment & Passion
Good leadership is when your employees/ team members actually see you getting your hands dirty. This shows them that you care and understand them better, and what they do and go through which in hand will result in them doing more – giving their best shot.
What is greater is that it will help you to gain the respect of your minions and pervade new energy in your team members, which helps them to perform better.
Remember that your team members/ minions look up to you and if you want them to give them their all, you will have to be passionate and committed too. If they do not see or feel the commitment and/or passion, it will become an uphill struggle for the leader to motivate his/ her followers to achieve results and goals.
Confidence & Emotional Intelligence
An effective leader should show confidence. Not arrogance but truly honest and authentic confidence. That is enough to ensure that others follow your commands. There will be times when you feel a lack of confidence, but it is how you transmit the energy of confidence. It is important to know that if you are unsure about your own decisions and qualities, then your team will struggle to follow you.
As a leader, you have to be oozing with confidence, show some swagger and assertiveness to gain the respect of your team members. This does not mean that you should be overconfident, but you should at least reflect the degree of confidence required to ensure trust as a leader.
Good leaders always have higher influence but how do they increase their influence to the point where people accept what they say. They do this by connecting with people emotionally. That is where emotional intelligence comes into play.
Three main reasons why a leader should be emotionally intelligent:
- Manage emotions effectively
- Better social awareness
- Seamless communications
Good Listener & Communicator
With all the above qualities and skills (and the ones below) a key skill for a great leader to have is the ability to be a good listener and communicator.
Clearly communicating your vision to your team and telling them the strategy in how to achieve the goal is vital. It is also about communicating in a way that enables everyone to understand- to cater to your language and approach to the different personality styles of others. If you are unable to communicate your message effectively, I believe that you will struggle to be a good leader. A leader’s words should have the power to motivate and inspire people and make them do the unthinkable- by giving them confidence.
With all that, Listening is essential. The ability to listen to others is essential as it helps leaders understand where their employees/ teams are at; the struggles, challenges, and of course the successes. It also makes them feel valued, whereby they will give more of themselves and therefore result in achieving greater success.
Vision, Purpose & Transparency
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”—Jack Welch
Great leaders always have a vision and purpose. They not only visualise the future themselves, but they take the time and effort to share their vision with their employees/teams.
A great leader goes above and beyond and explains why they are moving in the direction they are moving and shares the strategy and action plan to achieve that goal. The idea behind this is that when others are able to see the bigger picture, the vision, and purpose then, they can see where they are heading, and it creates a greater sense of motivation and focus.
With that, comes Transparency which no doubt is one of the best ways to win the trust and confidence, by not hiding information, instead openly sharing it with them. Transparency enables them to buy into your vision and support you with conviction in achieving the goals. It allows your team members/ employees to have clarity, autonomy and it makes them feel more empowered while keeping them engaged, just like sharing vision and purpose. Everyone is then working from the same page!
Resilience is a huge thing when it comes to leadership. Demonstrating resilience builds confidence when others are exposed to it and see it in action. You will have heard this saying many times, ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going,’ and the truth at hand is that great leaders do follow this rule.
Resilient Leaders have a positive attitude but also the right attitude and outlook. You will notice that great leaders always tend to focus on solutions, not the problems, whereas, those who aren’t are too busy complaining about the problems.
Regardless, of how difficult the circumstances might be, you will still notice that good leaders are supporting their team members/employees. Resilience is a skill that can be learned and developed. It is one of the foundations of building a strong workforce team. Being resilient will allow members to overcome obstacles and challenges with much more ease.
Creativity & Innovation
Times have very much changed and continue to do so at a drastic pace. In order to get ahead in today’s fast-paced world, a leader must be and show creativity and innovation at the same time. They do not work in isolation. What makes Great Leadership is Creative thinking and constant innovation.
It is what makes you and your team stand out from the crowd. The question to ask yourself as a leader is, ‘Do you think outside of the box?’ thinking out of the box coming up with unique ideas, and turning those ideas and goals into reality is an exceptional tool and ability.
It is all about the mindset. And if you’re not great at thinking outside of the box, think about how you can develop that thinking or even reach out to someone who is great at it!
Having a futuristic vision, as a leader he/she should also have the ability to take the right decision at the right time. Making those key decisions by leaders can have a profound impact on the masses.
Leaders need to think long and hard before taking a decision– once made and taken, they must follow it through and stand by it.
What needs to be highlighted here is that often many leaders make decisions on their own, although it would be highly recommended to consult with key stakeholders before making a decision. After all, they are the ones who will suffer or benefit from the decisions of a leader.
Delegation & Empowerment
Often letting go and delegating can be challenging for leaders. The truth is no matter who you are, at some point you need to let go and allow yourself to delegate. You cannot do everything, and doing everything is not productive, right? It is essential for leaders to focus on key responsibilities while leaving the rest to others- empowering them to take responsibility and allowing for accountability. Entrusting your subordinates can be very empowering. And empowering them and delegating tasks builds trust and unity.
Remember, if you continue to micromanage, it will develop a lack of trust, and more importantly, you will not be able to focus on more crucial aspects of your business that matters. When delegating enables your staff to feel empowered by providing them with the resources and support they need to achieve the targets and with that give them a chance to bear the responsibility, accountability, and ownership. Allow your minions to shine!
With accountability also comes ownership. I believe that this does not work in isolation, they work hand in hand to be truly effective.
“A good leader takes little more than his share of the blame and little less than his share of the credit.” Arnold H Glasgow
This is such a powerful saying by Arnold. It is important that each employee is accountable for what they are doing and taking ownership. It is essential to recognise the successes. If they do well, absolutely yes, give them a pat on the back. However, if they struggle, acknowledge their effort and then make them realize their mistakes but importantly, work together to improve.
Don’t leave your minions hanging to work it out for themselves or not be held accountable. By holding them accountable for their actions you will create a much deeper sense of responsibility amongst them and believe me they will go the extra mile making it much more seriously and with better conviction.
When it comes to conflict and resolution a great leader will be on top of this. It is key that leaders develop emotional intelligence. With emotional intelligence, leaders can control their emotions, which prevents negative emotions from influencing their decision-making skills.
As a result, they are less likely to make hasty decisions. In addition, emotionally intelligent leaders are great at understanding emotions and care about the feelings of others.
Understanding yourself and others is so important if a business is to run top-notch. Moreover, leaders who have this leadership emotional intelligence quality not only handle conflict in a better way but also play an important role in conflict resolution. The ability to resolve problems without conflict and the ability to resolve a conflict are key attributes of a great leader.
In summary, join the elite club of Great Leaders, you must have all these qualities but if you lack some of these qualities, then you might struggle to make the mark in the world of leadership. It’s tough being a great Leader. Anyone can lead but not everyone will follow a leader.
The key is to set a good example- be the role model for others to follow. That is where your commitment, passion, empathy, honesty, and integrity come into play. Good communication and listening skills along with decision-making capabilities also play a vital role in the success and failure of a leader.
Lastly, innovation and creative thinking, as well as the futuristic vision, are a couple of leadership qualities that make up good leaders.
Take time to write down your qualities as a leader. What do you have? What skills or qualities are you lacking? What true vision do you have for your company? When everyone on board your ship is working together and heading for the same destination, you are more likely to arrive as one.
The way I look at it is:
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
~ John Quincy Adams