Whether you are an entrepreneur leading your online business or heading a team in an organization, one essential quality that is absolutely necessary is the quality of leadership.
Different people may define leadership differently, and that depends on the way it is perceived. Leadership, as per many contexts, is defined as the fine art of motivating a small or relatively large group of individuals to work collectively towards achieving a set of common goals and objectives.
However, that is the fundamental definition of what a leader does or should do.
A leader should have the perfect blend of leadership and other personality traits that makes it possible for him to mobilize his followers to work towards that one goal and aim.
He should be able to inspire his followers to accomplish those goals and imbibe in them the confidence to work consistently towards and past them.
So what are those personality traits in a person that makes the difference?
What are those traits that define and distinguish a good leader from a bad one? In this article, I will point out all those qualities that make a great leader.
Let’s point out the must-have qualities for a leader:
- Clear communication
- Community building
- Delegation capabilities
- Leading by principles
- Positive attitude
- Innovative mind
- Emotional intelligence
1. Clear Communication
Being a leader, you should be able to clearly and effectively communicate with your team. Possessing excellent communication skills is, therefore, extremely crucial.
Knowing the culture and the language used in your business is, of course, needed, but what’s more important is to be able to communicate in a manner that is understood by your team.
However, the most crucial part of communication begins with the most basic exercise i.e., listening.
To be able to communicate effectively and lead people, you need to make sure that you listen first. You cannot make people follow you or listen to you if they do not feel heard.
Make sure you listen to them. Talk about things that directly impact their lives, their interests, and make them feel that they can trust you. Once that trust factor comes in. You can simply make them move mountains for you.
Ideas, inner drive, innovations, none of those can be manifested to their true potential if communication is not at its highest level.
There are some quick tips for effective communication:
- Communicate effectively and whenever needed.
- Be simple and direct while communicating
- Listen carefully and ask for inputs
- Give illustrations through exciting stories.
- Affirm by ensuring actions are taken.
Clear communication is needed to articulate your vision clearly to your team. Using the right words in the proper manner with your team can do wonders. So to become a good leader, effective communication is the key.
2. Community Building
It is imperative for an excellent leader to create an environment of mutual trust and co-operation so that it gets more comfortable for the team to work without any fears and apprehensions.
You, as the leader, should be able to able to make sure that all team members work together without any personal differences. A good leader ensures that his team members share a good bonding among themselves.
You ensure that the reasons for differences between them are kept at bay and do not hamper their productivity and work. In case of any personal bitterness against professional colleagues, you should be able to intervene and try to eliminate the differences.
To create an environment that is conducive for good work, you have to make sure that the team members get to know each other from a personal perspective.
You can create such opportunities by engaging the team members in team-building activities such as going for a lunch or dinner with the team or an occasional trip or outing.
Organizations invest a lot in such team building activities because they understand the importance of having a team that knows each other.
When the team knows each other personally, it creates an environment and culture of compassion and spirit of oneness that acts as a key driver to achieve common goals.
Hence a leader should be able to effectively engage his team in team building activities to create a fun working environment.
The best leaders create a community that is not driven by competition against each other but a competition to become the best of the best in the market.
3. Delegation capabilities
More than often, you can find it extremely difficult when you have to transition from doing some task yourself to getting it done through your team members.
And this is where the qualities of good leadership come very handy. When you have just taken up a leadership role, you may be accustomed to doing everything yourself.
As a result, you may not be able to let your team handle and do what they have to for the fears that they make mistakes. As a good leader, you have to understand that the idea is to get it done and not do it yourself.
You have to make sure that though you are an essential part of the team in ensuring and overseeing and guiding them with the way it is done, you should not be involved too much in how it is being done.
You need to ensure you provide them with all the tools and knowledge they need to accomplish their tasks and deliverables, and then you stay out of it.
Ensure you set clear expectations and clearly define their goals. You shouldn’t be someone who would be scared of his subordinate’s success and would not be scared to push him for higher roles.
Your job is to elevate your team members by giving them the power in their hands to do what they need to accomplish goals, vision, and mission of your business while you lead them and lend them the direction they need.
4. Leading by principles
You lead by example and live on solid principles that define and drive their lives.
You may be vocal about those principles and talk about them, but you have to follow those principles in real life too. First, there are certain principles of honesty and integrity, humility, transparency, etc., that you must have in order to become a successful leader.
These principles would not only help you become a good leader but also help you in being successful in your lives too. But if you only talk about these principles but do not follow them, you will surely lose your credibility, and then it will get difficult for you to instill these principles and values in them.
For instance, when you talk about being honest and transparent, and you are not doing it yourself when you deal with things, they may just ignore it when you talk about such behavior.
You should be able to lead by example through demonstrated behavior where-in you are living by all the values you believe in. The values of honesty, integrity, humility, and transparency should not merely be in your pep-talks; you have to ensure they are demonstrated as well.
Principles define your business’s success. Working, acting, doing things in a certain way, years on end, creates principles that you can then hand-down to your team.
Creating strong principles creates a strong vision and path for your company.
5. Positive attitude
A good leader is the one who is positive in every situation. You should be able to stay positive in every circumstance. In an office setting where, at times, the business decisions might not be that fruitful to your team directly, it is the immediate leader who plays an important role in keeping the environment positive and upbeat.
In fact, as per many surveys, most employees reflect the attitude of the behavior of their immediate supervisor or manager. And if you are a business owner, you are the one they look at, in difficult times.
Even the best of companies and offices will have stressful times in the day to day work and operations, and as such, it is vital to ensure there is always a positive and upbeat attitude that is maintained.
And that can happen only when the leaders know how to handle the stress. A good leader will not let the stress trickle down to his team members. You keep the stress away from your team and let them enjoy the working.
Remember, a good working environment yields good results. Trust in you creates trust in the future. You are the one with the vision, and when you keep the atmosphere positive, your teams’ creativity is lifted on higher plains.
As such, being positive is an essential leadership quality that helps in the smooth functioning of the business as well as the day-to-day office operations.
A good leader is a leader who works with a long term vision in mind. And that does not stop at merely conceiving a vision. A good business leader is able to articulate his vision to his team effectively and strives relentlessly for the completion of that vision.
You, as a leader, need to be able to sell your vision to your followers and be able to mobilize your team to work towards your vision. You should be strong enough to make your people believe that the vision is achievable and full of gains for them in the long run.
Making your team activities and work towards your vision is the true test of leadership. Your team should share a common vision and should be clearly aware of the organizational goals in order to work collectively as a team. A true leader has the ability and the prowess to imbibe and transform this vision as a common dream of his team.
Without a clear vision, your team is walking in the dark, no path available, and no goal to go towards. Future thinking, sharing thoughts about your vision for the company, enables your team to have one clear goal and objective to go for.
You should be able to inspire and motivate your team to give their best performances and to be at their best always.
A good leader understands the pulse of his employees. He comes to know when they are down or when they feel discouraged, and as soon as you find that happening, you do everything possible to make sure your team is inspired enough to get back to work again.
A leader would leave no opportunity to inspire his team to do great things. If they are already doing good, he will inspire and push them to do even great.
Becoming the best requires effort; it requires your thoughts, ideas, and the much-shouted vision. Inspiration can be many things, but the end goal is always the same, feeling energized.
A very important aspect of inspiring is taking regular pep-talk sessions with your team. Most projects which work on a target driven basis make sure they have regular briefings and sessions with their team to keep them inspired and pepped up at all times.
Especially when it is a highly competitive sales environment, the employees need that extra push and inspiration to achieve the targets and exceed them.
A good leader is someone who is able to do this seamlessly and consistently every single time. He will make sure he knows what needs to be said to the employees to give them the required impetus.
You can make use of awards and other recognition tools that your company might provide to ensure your team knows clearly the rewards of working and achieving a set goal.
So if you want to become a leader that is recognized, you need to know the art of inspiring your team and mobilize them to work for you the way you want.
8. Innovative mind
Another extremely important trait that defines and forms the most important part of the qualities of great leadership is the ability of the leader to innovate.
You need to be an intelligent man or a woman who has an innovating mind. You have the ability to think out of the box. You understand the ins and outs of the business, and you are able to devise innovative solutions to the problems and ideas to maximize the profits and get new business expansion opportunities.
A leader should be able to think differently to create something new and better. An innovative leader is someone who can think and influence others in that direction of creating that new and better thing.
You should be able to perceive things the way others won’t and find solutions that were never there. Being innovative, you can solve problems, mentor the workplace efficiently, and achieves growth in the best possible manner.
When you have an innovative mind, you can create unique paths to the goals. Whether it is about increasing the profits or expanding their current products and businesses, an innovative leader is able to map and create a path that helps accomplish the goals and attain the highest levels of success.
You as an innovative leader are creative, and as such, you are able to translate that into your team as well, thereby generating breakthrough ideas through brainstorming sessions.
Innovation is the future of business. With this understanding, there’s no way your business will succeed in the coming years. Uber, Tesla, Apple, Nike, these are big brands with big ideas, but also with innovations.
These companies are here for the long run, will you be?
9. Emotional intelligence
When it comes to good leaders, they always know how to influence their team members. But how do they manage to influence them to the extent that what a leader says is acceptable to them?
What works for them is the fact that they connect with their team emotionally. They know exactly what to talk to each member of their team to connect to them emotionally and at a level that their team listens to them.
You, therefore, need to be emotionally intelligent. And there are a few reasons why this emotional intelligence is essential. Let’s take a look:
- It allows people to manage the emotions of the team members effectively.
- It creates that personal connection with the team members.
- Knowing the emotional backgrounds of the team members helps the leader to communicate with them seamlessly.
- It allows people to resolve all conflicts and issues with their people.
- You know how to listen and also how to talk with each team member.
- The right tone of voice, language, verbal rhythm, all of these make you a leader worth talking and listening to.
Being emotionally intelligent, the leader is able to prevent negatives from affecting their decision-making abilities. They are caring and can make their peers and followers a better version of what they used to be.
Last but not least, a leader should know that he is accountable for the successes and failures. Ideally, when it is about the blames of any wrongdoing, a leader should not hesitate to take it on him, and when it comes to credit, a good leader gives most of the share to his team members. If not, everything.
A good leader knows that he and his team are accountable for the success of the business and hence is able to create that sense of responsibility and ownership within the team.
You will ensure that each team member understands their accountability and appreciates each other when they do something great.
And when they falter and make mistakes, the leader ensures that proper feedback on the mistakes is provided and works together with them to improve on the same.
You will always take the blame when necessary and give credit to the team when necessary. A great leader stands up for the team and deems himself accountable for the failures and credits the team for success.
If no one in your team feels accountable to you, why would they give it their best? There needs to be a certain tension between you and the team. They need to feel like there’s something on the line.
They need to show up every day, and so do you, you most of all.
A final note
In the end, it is only fair to say that leadership is a skill that may not come naturally to many. It is a blend of things that you can learn and certain things that are imbibed in your personality.
But of all the things, if you ensure you have the above leadership qualities in you, you will surely make an impact and cut above the rest.
So if you are already a leader or are getting ready to take up leadership, make sure you have these qualities in place. While most of it is about handling and motivating your followers, some of it is also about traits you can learn with time.
Make sure you get the perfect blend of the two to become that great leader you always wanted to be.