Leadership really isn’t about occupying a particular position or gaining certain seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean they have necessarily gained the qualities and skills to lead a team in that field. So what makes a good leader?
Good leadership comes with the acquisition of certain skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a great example for your team in all situations in a workplace. The best leaders, across different fields and organisations, tend to exhibit the following set of common qualities that make them successful.
Positivity in the face of adversity
Great leaders know they can’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This requires staying positive when things go left by creating a happy and humorous atmosphere in the workplace. Even in terrible situations such as low team morale or dealing with major errors made by the team at work, a great leader always keeps their team motivated enough to solve these problems.
However much you may try to avoid it, failure should always be expected; which is okay. One just needs to figure out how to deal with it. Great leaders take it in stride and remain calm, maintain a logical mindset to think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale and fear spreading all over the workplace.
Break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one. Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down so that the loss carries some lessons at least.
Great communication skills
A great leader must possess good communication skills. The best leaders need to be able to maintain clear communication channels with their team and also be able to interpret other people without misunderstanding them or their ideas.
Great leaders also know when to talk and when to listen making them effective communicators enabling them to clearly explain to their workforce everything from organisational goals to specific tasks. When people fail to understand your expectations, they will fall short, therefore the more specific you can be, the better the communication.
Always remember that communication is built on a constant flow of verbal and nonverbal exchanges of information and ideas, so endeavour to be approachable and involve people on different levels of understanding. Establish an open door policy to encourage regular, honest communication from your team members.
Practice allowing team members to air and share their views without interruption then summarise what they say and ask for feedback whenever you share your ideas.
Know how and when to delegate
You cannot actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway. Good leaders know that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegation also shows that you have confidence in your team’s abilities, which eventually results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as increased loyalty from your team because people always want to feel appreciated, valued and trusted.
Knowing when and how to delegate work to your team members means that you have to be very familiar with each of them. Learn their strengths, weaknesses and personalities. Interact more with your team to find out more about their passions and interests so that you can assign them the right tasks.
Inspire and grow the people around you
Any good leader knows the importance of developing the skills of those around them. The best can recognise those skills early on. Aside from making work easier as they improve and grow, development will also foster encouragement and morale among employees. They may also develop some skills that you may not possess which will be instrumental to the workplace.
Great leaders are open to passing on their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. Eventually, this is how they gain their undying respect and loyalty. Spend time to talk with other team members individually to understand them, discover their current challenges and always endeavour to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.
Take responsibility and never blame others
Great leaders know they need to shoulder the responsibility when things don’t go according to plan. How are employees expected to hold themselves a certain standard if their leaders themselves don’t?
The best leaders steer very clear of excuses in the face of failure and instead focus on figuring how to solve a problem as soon as possible. This proves to their team that they are trustworthy and possess integrity.
Ask what could have been done better to prevent the situation at hand from happening. Take the responsibility for the failure and think about what you can do better to prevent it from recurring.
Lead by example and commit to do the best
Why should your team give their jobs 110% effort if you yourself don’t bother to? Great leaders stick to their commitments and promises, and they are the most committed and hard working on the job. All great leaders lead by example and by proving their own commitment to their work, they in turn inspire others to do the same, while earning their respect and instilling a good work ethic.
While others may need more detailed guidelines, most people learn by observing the way you perform a task. Put aside some time to demonstrate your work to the team and let them observe how you go about it. Summarize the skills you use and let the team know how you work your way around difficult tasks.
That’s our six characteristics of a good leader. Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader too. Make small changes your habits when you work with your team – wherever that may be. There are many good leaders out there but few qualify as great. And the above qualities are what it takes to be great.