The major qualities of a great leader - applicable to both work and life. Understanding what makes a great leader and using this knowledge to develop current and future leaders and managers.
Table of contents
There are certain attributes and behaviours that make a great leader, as well as common misconceptions about its role. However, there are only a few key points when it comes to characteristics of all leaders, the rest is situational and it is up to you as a leader to identify an appropriate and effective approach that suits the needs of your team and organisation.
It is important for one to realise that there is no universal archetype of a leader and the traits and characteristics of successful leaders will differ enormously. Also, one needs to recognise that they will have been given the opportunity to become a leader in their organisation because of their specific personality and capabilities.
If you can identify what these traits are and develop what it is that makes you a great leader, it will allow you to become a bigger and better version of yourself. Highlighting these skills will encourage not only a stronger personality but a strong sense of authenticity; an important trait in any organisation.
Characteristics a leader should practice are dependent on the leader’s vision, situation, team and organisation. The following are characteristics that have been successful traditionally, but all may not be necessarily appropriate for you to adopt. As leader, it is up to you to identify what qualities will help your team prosper.
Good leadership demands emotional strengths and behavioural characteristics which can draw deeply on a leader's mental and spiritual reserves. Qualities needed for prosperous relationships between leaders and staff members include integrity, honesty, confidence and compassion.
Adaptability of style is an increasingly significant aspect of leadership because the world is increasingly complex and dynamic. Adaptability stems from objectivity, which in turn stems from emotional security and emotional maturity.
Always adapt to new surroundings and different types of followers or teams. Take into account the level of risk, how much effort you and the team need to contribute. This is also known as situational or contingency leadership.
Delegating tasks to the appropriate person or department is an important skill for any leader to master. Trusting your team with your idea is a sign of ultimate strength, not weakness and will enable your company to develop by creating a circle of trust.
Capitalise on the strength of others. Give responsibility to your team. Prioritise your own tasks.
Although the goals you have for your company may seem obvious in your mind, you need to communicate these ideals clearly and concisely. If you can’t, then collectively, you and your team will not be working towards the same goal.
Be an approachable leader with an open door policy. Be specific and eliminate jargon. Listen.
There will be a constant stream of threats towards your organisation, whether that might be new industry standards and training, new technologies or even a new competitor determined to drive away your customers, but it’s important not to panic.
Show your confidence, particularly in your team, and they will follow suit.
Determination and motivation go hand in hand and what better way to motivate than to actively get involved alongside your team. By doing so, you demonstrate your own commitment to your organisation and your excitement for the collaborative efforts of the team.
This will encourage others to do the same. Earn the respect of your team. Reward them for their efforts. Boost determination with your own determination.
Accepting and facing challenges head on is a large part of leadership, meaning that intuition is a key skill to master. There may be times when there is no clear route to take, especially when the stakes are high. Find the energy to remain calm so that this is reflected in your team and use your knowledge and integrity to develop a strategic plan of action. Trust your intuition when determining the best course of action. Take your team through the process. Communicate your decisions. Learn to trust yourself.
Practising these qualities will enhance your performance as a leader, but, as previously mentioned, each situation may require a different approach.