What It Takes to Be a Leader: 7 Important Characteristics
February 12 2020 - To be an effective boss, you must be an effective leader. Leadership keeps employees on task, all the while allowing them to express their full potential. A workplace that lacks leadership also tends to lack productivity.
Trying to hone your leadership skills? Wondering what it takes to be a leader? We're going to discuss seven important characteristics.
Of all the attributes a leader must possess, none is more important than confidence. A leader who exudes confidence can get his or her team through hard times, even when it seems that all hope is lost. Conversely, a leader who exudes fear and discomfort makes even the easiest tasks feel like the climbing of a mountain.
When a leader isn't confident, his or her subordinates will lose trust in his or her decisions. As a result, they'll start striking out on their own. This will, in turn, result in a lack of communication and, ultimately, a lack of productivity.
Stand behind your decisions. Take responsibility for them whether they go right or wrong. Never sweat the small stuff.
Your team counts on you to be the captain of the ship. If you waver, you'll never quite get to where you want to go. You can learn more about confidence in leadership by reading this executive recruitment guide.
Do you like being lied to? Neither do the members of your team. Believe us: they know when you're not telling the truth.
As such, it's important that you're as honest as possible at all times. Don't tell them that everything's alright when everything is not, in fact, alright. They have minds of their own and can clearly see when something is askew.
Failure to be honest with your team will almost assuredly result in resentment. They'll begin to lose respect for you and, as a result, will not work as hard for you as they otherwise would have.
Now, this isn't to say that you should be rude. Tact is necessary as well, but you should be able to express your true thoughts in a productive manner.
Remember when you were in school and you had that teacher who was clearly just doing what was necessary to get through the day? Did that teacher inspire you to do great things? Of course not.
Remember that other teacher who came to school every day with a smile on her face and enthusiasm in her bones? She was excited to be doing what she was doing. As a result, her students were excited to be there, giving her their all.
As a leader, you need to bring that same level of enthusiasm to your team. By showing passion for the projects that you're working on, you'll create an environment in which your team members feel just as passionate. High-quality work will be the result.
Human beings are, well, human. They make mistakes. As long as their mistakes aren't due to laziness or disregard, they shouldn't be punished too harshly.
As a leader, you need to have some empathy for your subordinates. You need to be able to put yourself in their shoes and understand why they're doing what they're doing. Once you've done so, you need to take action that is fair and reasonable, not humiliating and cruel.
Lacking empathy for your subordinates is a great way to turn them against you. If you cut them no slack, they'll either do the bare minimum just to spite you or just quit the job entirely.
As a leader, you're responsible for keeping tens to hundreds of people on the same page. It should go without saying that communication skills are a must. Not only must you be able to communicate verbally, but via email and messaging as well.
Remember: different members of your team will respond better to different types of communication. Whereas some members will respond well to direct, blunt communication, others will require a little more sensitivity.
It's your job to gain an understanding of your employees and to communicate with them in a way that brings out their best attributes.
Just as your team members are human, so too are you. As such, you will make mistakes from time to time. That's okay; in the end, it's how you handle your mistakes that matters.
If you try to push them off onto others, your team members will undoubtedly lose respect for you. Conversely, if you hold yourself accountable for them, your team will gain respect for you.
Truth be told, apart from confidence, accountability might be the most important leadership quality there is. It keeps subordinate resentment to a minimum, ensuring that every member of the team is putting his or her best foot forward.
The last attribute we'll discuss is intelligence. While the leader of the team doesn't have to be the smartest person in the room, he or she does have to have a greater understanding of the project than any of the other members on the team. A lack of knowledge on the project at hand is sure to breed distrust in subordinates.
Regardless of what you're doing, make sure that you're reading up on it in detail. While you don't have to be perfect, you can't make seismic mistakes either.
That's What it Takes to Be a Leader
There it is, that's what it takes to be a leader. If you're looking to be the best boss possible, you would be wise to hone the characteristics listed above.
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