In this post Laura Reed looks at 5 of the characteristics that make a great leader. Did you know that we run a 2-day Leadership workshop? Our course will help develop your leadership qualities and turn potential characteristics into established skills.
Strong, effective leadership plays a vital role in business and in our personal lives. Some people seem to be born leaders, able to tackle any challenge and others seem to flock to them with little to no effort. So what makes our leaders effective? What characteristics do we recognize in them consciously or subconsciously that makes us willing to follow? What characteristics do we instinctively know to avoid? Effective leaders can mean the difference between a profitable business and a failing one. With high-pressure jobs, great responsibility often tests leaders and brings out the best (and the worst) of their personalities. The following five characteristics of an effective leader are only the beginning qualities that strong, effective leaders must exhibit.
1) Genuine Humility
It’s more than likely that at some point in your life you’ve worked for a jerk. You’ve had to deal with someone who is demanding and has unrealistic expectations. A poor leader is full of themselves, selfish or out for blood with no regard for those who have to follow in their wakes. Humility is the key to a leader’s success. A humble leader often takes the mentality of “leading to serve” – in other words, their position of leadership’s purpose is to do what is best for their underlings. Genuine humility is important, especially since so many people try to fake it. Fake humility with an underlying selfishness is easier and easier to spot. A fake humility can reduce productivity and severely impact the moral of a business.
2) Effective Communication
An effective leader knows how to say what they mean and mean what they say. They are able to communicate ideas, plans and messages to others without tripping over their words and confusing anyone listening. A leader speaks clearly and directly in a way that their subordinates can easily relate to, and is open to questions for clarification. They are more concerned with getting the message understood than they are with getting the message out quickly.
3) Gives Direction
An effective leader doesn’t hem and haw in front of their co-workers about the best possible course of action. They may do it in the privacy of their own office, but on the floor, they are fully able to take care of business. They give directions clearly and concisely and make sure that they are understood prior to expecting them to be implemented.
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4) Problem Solving
Leaders who effectively manage a team of others are used to problem solving on the go. You don’t always have time to stop and weigh out the options, and many leaders will freely admit that a high level of their success comes from following their instincts. Their methods might be unconventional, but they produce results. Leaders think on their feet and often see outside the box to find new, more effective ways of managing conflicts and problems before they have a chance to explode.
5) Sense of Humour
Nothing ever always goes according to plan. Sometimes things happen that are unaccounted for. If your boss blows up and screams at the drop of a hat, they are not a good leader. A good leader recognizes that sometimes things happen, and they have a quick sense of humour about themselves and uncontrollable situations while refraining from being inappropriate or offensive.
Leadership plays a vital role in business, and can often determine the likelihood of a company’s success. Working for someone who does not exhibit positive leadership qualities can be a chore. By managing their employees effectively and still maintaining a positive attitude and sense of humour, an effective leader can propel a company forward, rather than holding it back.
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