For most of my career, I’ve been working with leaders and those who want to be leaders. Some are great, others are getting there, and the rest, well, they’re frankly missing the point, power, and potential of leadership. Do you reflect the best qualities of a leader? How do you rate for these 9 leadership qualities?
Honesty. Trust is essential to build relationships. Without those relationships, you have no one to lead. Be transparent in your dealings so that when you share knowledge and information with others, they know you speak with honesty.
Integrity. Basically, your word is your bond. When you make a promise, it’s a guarantee.You hold yourself to a high ethical standard. You don’t speak unkindly of people to others, nor do you tolerate those who do.
Accountable. Finger-pointing is a massive waste of time! What matters when anything goes wrong is to determine how it happened and develop a process to avoid having a recurrence. Period. And when you’re the one who has made an error, accept responsibility. In fact, remember that when anyone on your team makes a mistake, you, as the leader, are ultimately responsible. A good leader never veers from responsibility and is also willing to apologize.
Empowering and supportive. How are your coaching skills these days? A good leader becomes better by building those who follow, cultivating THEIR leadership qualities. Encourage your team members to make decisions, solve problems, and take initiative. Introduce them to opportunities to grow—like ongoing training, reading, and additional tasks and responsibilities. Give them the power to do it and you’ll be rewarded with one success after another.
Challenging. While you’re empowering your followers, remember to challenge them. We only get better when we reach higher. Ask each person what they’d like to develop and then set them on a course to strengthen those skills. Keep raising the bar!
Communicative. A strong leader is a powerful communicator. Share your vision for the company and discuss the goals. As the leader, you need to provide a roadmap they can follow. Be clear and direct about your plans and your expectations. Present examples to help others understand. Celebrate successes, small and large.
Being a good communicator also means listening. Discussions are dialogues, not monologues, so let others speak up.
Self-aware. Do you know your flaws as well as your weaknesses? Emotional intelligence studies show that the strongest leaders are highly self-aware. Self-awareness is “your ability to not only understand your strengths and weaknesses, but to recognize your emotions and the effect they have on you and your team’s performance.” When you are keenly self-aware, you can better equip and empower others, delegate wisely, lead with empathy, and learn from those who have strengths that you want to acquire.
Respectful. This is perhaps the most glaring flaw I see in people in a leadership position. Those who rely on “Because I said so” are disrespectful of their team. Follow the golden rule: Treat others the way you want them to treat you, regardless of the hierarchy.
Open-minded. You’re interested in the ideas and opinions of others, because you know they can expand your knowledge and inspire your creativity. You also welcome conflicting opinions because you’re not driven by ego, and want to achieve the best results, even if they’re not your doing.
So…how are you doing as a leader? We all have room for improvement. Where is yours?