Qualities That Define a Good Leader (13 Personal Traits)
Everyone is a leader but only a selected few are a great leader. Regardless if have worked your way up the corporate ladder or just started your own business, the route to leadership is never an easy one.
You will encounter various types of situations and emotions; there will be the good times, stressful ones, and even terrible times. However, a great leader is always able to lead a team to success, regardless of the situation that they are facing.
In order to help you achieve better results for your company and make you a better leader, here are some key qualities that every good leader should possess or learn from.
One of the qualities that define a good leader is honesty. When you are responsible for a team of people, it is important to be straightforward. Your company and its employees are a reflection of yourself, and if you make honest and ethical behaviour as a key value, your team will follow. So remember to lead by example.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
– John C. Maxwell
Regardless of the situation and position you are in, always remember that you can’t do everything on your own. Good leaders recognise that delegation does more than simply passing the task to someone else. It is trusting and believing that your employees are able to handle the task given to them.
Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, and this can result in a positive morale in the workplace. Your employees want to feel appreciated and trusted. So by giving them a task, they would generally feel honoured that they got selected and they would feel the importance of having them around.
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Communication is the key to success, said everyone. Without a clear communication, your employees would not understand your mission, goals, and vision.
Communication should be consistent when it comes to establishing work expectations or giving constructive feedback. With great communication, your employees will have a broad understanding to what they are working for.
“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”
Another quality that defines a good leader is having confidence. Admit it, there may be days where the future of your brand is cloudy or the monthly sales do not look promising. Any company or businesses would have gone through these issues before; so it is not something new.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to maintain the team morale and keep moving forward. Keep your confidence level up and assure everyone that setbacks being looked into. By staying calm and confident, the team would not worry as they put their trust in you.
Nothing shows commitment like getting your hands dirty with the rest of the employees. There is no greater motivation than seeing their leader working alongside everyone else. By proving your commitment to the company and especially your team, you will not only earn the respect of your team, but will also instil that same hardworking drive among your staff.
Showing your commitment sets the example for others to follow, and leads to greater loyalty and respect for you as a leader. Set the tone of commitment, and others will follow suit. Remember that if you expect your team to work hard and produce quality work, you would need to lead by example.
You want to keep your team motivated towards the continued success of the company, and keep the energy levels up. Whether that means providing snacks, coffee, relationship advice, or even just an occasional beer in the office, remember that everyone on your team is a person. Keep the office mood a fine balance between productivity and playfulness.
If your team is feeling happy and upbeat, chances are they won’t mind staying that extra hour to finish a report, or devoting their best work to the brand.
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
As a good leader is someone the team could look up to for answers or solutions, it is up to you to think outside the box when any issues arise.
You could also gather the team and start brainstorming ideas to build upon some of your ideas. When you get your employees involved in a decision or an idea, they often the importance of their existence in the company. They feel respected and wanted and at times, even looking forward to work!
Another quality that defines a good leader is being inspiring. Being able to inspire your team is great for focusing on the company’s vision and goals, but it is also important for the team during their current projects.
When your team are drowning in workload or their morale is low, you as a leader need to be inspiring and start finding ways to inspire your team. It is your job to keep spirits up, and that begins with an appreciation for the hard work that they have put in. Start off by giving words of encouragement once in a while.
Having empathy as a leader goes a long way. Empathy is the ability to understand or feel what other people are experiencing. In other words, they put themselves in other people’s shoe. Extraordinary leaders praise in public and address problems in private.
At times, leaders need to look after their team‘s feelings. The best leaders guide employees through challenges and are always on the lookout for a solution. Instead of making things personal when they encounter problems, or assigning blame to individuals, good leaders look for constructive solutions and focus on moving forward.
A good leader takes responsibility for everyone’s performance as well as their own. When things are going well, they praise. However when problems arise, they identify them quickly, seek solutions, and get the team back on track.
“With great power comes great responsibility”
A good leader is enthusiastic about their work or cause and also about their role as leader. People will respond more openly to a person of passion and dedication. Leaders need to be able to be a source of inspiration, and be a motivator towards the required action or cause.
Although the responsibilities and roles of a leader may be different, the leader needs to be seen to be part of the team working towards the goal. This kind of leader will not be afraid to roll up their sleeves and get dirty.
Focus and Driven
A good leader is generally focused and they are able to think rationally. Not only does a good leader view a situation as a whole, but is able to narrow down the cause as well as find the solution to the problem.
Leaders should also be self-driven to work harder in wanting to achieve better results for the company. They are the driving force in the team and also someone the team could look up to and encourage the rest to work together.
“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.”
The last quality that defines a good leader is being responsible. Great leaders know that when it comes to their company or workplace, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. A good leader does not make excuses; they take the blame regardless and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible.
To recap, the qualities of a good leader are;
Focus and Driven
These qualities are the foundation of a good leadership. While some of these qualities may be more naturally present in the personality of a leader, it is definitely something you can develop and strengthen over time.