This is a major reason not everyone wants to assume the roles and responsibilities that come along with leadership. Some people are naturally successful in their positions, while others struggle. There are numerous elements that make a leader great. Whether you are a leader today or strive for leadership down the road, there are some important qualities to possess and develop that can be helpful.
No one is born a leader although many exhibit tendencies toward leadership from an early age. There is no question those are the children, and young people, who gravitate toward roles such as team caption, student council president or school club chairperson. These are some of the typical roles that can help develop the confidence, and desire, to pursue leadership roles as an adult.
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Consider these attributes, and work with your leadership coach, to develop further if you are considering a leadership role or already have a leadership role and would like to improve.
Do you have character?
This is one of the most important ‘intangible’ asset you can have as a leader that can be a major foundation of your success. Part of good character is integrity, honesty, and humility. Character suggests you demonstrate collaboration in your situations and present yourself as an equal partner. Character is what defines a great leader. It can not be seen or earned in one small act, but is accrued over time by always being appreciative, respectful and accepting of others.
Are you able to establish ‘LRT’?
This is a favourite term used by the team at X5 Management, and Mike Mack, the President of X5, writes about Like, Respect and Trust as the foundation to long lasting relationships in his book, “Relationships for Keeps”. When you build mutual LRT with people you work with, you will in turn establish a stronger connection and relationship with others. LRT must be earned and continuously nurtured, and never taken for granted. LRT is essential not only for long-term relationships, but also meaningful, and powerful, personal and professional relationships.
Do you inspire and motivate?
A great leader inspires and motivates their followers in many ways. When employees understand a vision for their company, they better understand their purpose. When people feel inspired and motivated, they find the resources and feel the support they need to perform and grow in their job and workplace. That creates a powerful and positive culture to create endless opportunities. True leaders make decisions for tomorrow that enable people to be successful today.
Are you able to foster ownership?
The great leaders are able to let go of day-to-day operations and small details, thereby empowering others to take ownership and responsibility. This in turn creates cross-training and reskilling opportunities because employees can become more independent. Micro-managing people and their work, stifles creativity and suggests there may be a lack of trust. Fostering ownership encourages accountability, autonomy and drives engagement and confidence in the workplace.
Have you learned to connect?
Communication is a critical aspect of working with others, but the most effective communication is when you truly connect with other people. Connection is the vital component. This is when you can demonstrate an understanding of your audience, their motives, their goals, and their objectives. When you truly understand the verbal and nonverbal cues, and demonstrate superior listening and genuine interest, you will connect with others and successfully communicate and connect.
Are you personable?
Do you know some personal details about the people you work with? It’s a challenge in today’s busy, or remote, workplace but being personable and friendly in the office can go a long way. Especially as a leader. Many leaders do not create a real relationship with their colleagues. A simple hello in the morning or a chat about the weekend or personal interests can help nurture and foster a positive working relationship that will bode well, and be appreciate, by others.
For more on relationships, check out this post next: Relationships for Keeps: How to Build Powerful Relationships in Business and Life
There has been much written about successful and effective leadership and mastering these attributes can build a solid and sustainable foundation for aspiring leaders. It does take time, practice, and confidence to achieve a strong leadership reputation and usually includes making some mistakes along the way.
A coach or mentor can help by providing guidance, and feedback, on a regular basis. Every professional, and leader, needs added support and guidance from time-to-time. The role of the coach is to enhance the ongoing performance of the leader through a tailored program specific to each individual’s needs. It is a worthwhile and career changing investment.