A quick internet search will show you the vast studies that have been undertaken to determine the traits of the most successful people and leaders in the world. There is an endless stream of books, videos, and various resources. It’s something that we all talk about, we debate it, and there’s a good reason it’s such a popular topic. Every leader wants to be a great one. Every business wants great leaders, and many of them will do what it takes to ensure they get them. What makes a great leader? Well, here are 5 traits and skills that every great leader has.
Often ranked as the most important trait for any leader, you are nothing without your integrity. It’s difficult to obtain success when you don’t possess integrity (and honesty). They are two of the most ingredients in the recipe for creating a great leader. Leaders need followers, and how can you expect anyone to follow you if you aren’t honest with them? Moreover, how can you expect them to be honest if you aren’t? Leadership requires values, and once you have set yours, you have to stick to them.
In order to lead effectively, you have to be confident. You have to have confidence in yourself, your decisions, and your commands. If you are indecisive, your followers will not follow. Great leaders have a bit of swagger, you need that confidence to inspire your followers. Don’t conflate this with arrogance, you can be confident and assertive without slipping into arrogance.
The most difficult aspect of leadership is getting people to follow you. That’s why you need to be inspiring. To be an inspiration you have to set a good example. When things get rough, they will look to you to see how you react. If you react well, then they will be inspired and follow you. You need a positive approach and this positivity will be displayed in your actions. When you remain calm in high-pressure situations, it’s easy to maintain motivation in a team.
4. Passion & Commitment
When your followers look up to you, they are more likely to put everything into the job at hand. They won’t be passionate unless you are. When your employees see you get your hands dirty and maintain your motivation and passion, they are more likely to do the same. Additionally, it inspires respect and energizes a team. Ultimately, they will perform better under these circumstances. If you aren’t fully committed, why should they be? It’s an uphill battle for a leader who lacks passion and commitment.
How can you lead if you can’t accurately communicate your plans and visions? Your team can’t be effective if you don’t provide them with a strategy to achieve your vision. You can’t just let them go and hope for the best. What’s your message? How can you effectively communicate that to your team? You can motivate your team with words, but you can also tear them down. Which communicator are you? How do you use words with your team? Are you motivational or do you unknowingly allow negativity to demotivate your team? Effective communication is just one of the skills that make a great leader, but it’s the one that can make or break your team in terms of success.
How many of these skills do you possess now? Don’t lose heart if you need to work on any of them, the beauty of leadership is that it’s a skill that can be improved upon. You don’t have to be a born leader to find success as a great leader. It’s something that anyone and everyone can work on.
Crucial Leadership Skills, No Matter Your Role
Even if you are not currently serving in a leadership role in your professional life, there are always ways you can be working to improve your leadership skills. And exercising leadership skills in whatever capacity you currently serve is a wonderful way to get yourself noticed and considered for possible, future opportunities. Leaders can lead, no matter their current position. Here are the crucial leadership skills that you can be developing and modeling, regardless of your current role.
Being an effective leader is impossible without effective communication skills. This skill is so important that entire books, courses, and workshops are dedicated to this goal. You must be able to not only communicate your ideas, needs, and contributions to others, but you must be able to hear others, read nonverbal cues, learn to speak for all types of purposes and to many different audiences, and to use your communication to lift others up.
Communication skills are something you can always be working on, including your writing skills, how will you listen to others, and your ability to “read the room” in different situations. Communication skills are essential for building teamwork and trust, for conveying the mission and intent of a project, and for improving processes and products in any industry. Without effective communication skills, you will find others will be reluctant to follow you.
#2. Encouraging Others
No matter your role within an organization, if you want to be a leader, then you should focus on building the leadership capacity of those around you. Valuing the contributions of others, encouraging the personal and professional growth of your colleagues, and supplying candid but helpful feedback are all signs of a good leader, and you can exercise these skills in many capacities. Being invested in those around you shows you are interested in the success of other people as much as the success of the business.
Good leaders are keenly aware of their strengths as well as their flaws. If you want to continue to grow as a leader, you must be able to look within yourself to determine where you need to improve, then take action to build those skills. Leaders lead by example, and by showing others around you that you are open to feedback, interested in growth, and willing to learn from them, you model lifelong learning to them, as well.
No matter the problem, leadership is about finding solutions. Being an effective leader means that you are willing to look at all possible scenarios to discover possibilities, that you see problems before they become insurmountable, and that you are not afraid to make the tough calls when needed. Learning to think strategically and analytically is essential, and you can practice these skills in many different roles. And most importantly, good leaders learn from every decision they make and use that knowledge to inform their future choices.
Leadership is not about taking the spotlight for yourself but rather making the best of everyone’s talents to carry out a collective vision. Learning to work with others, bringing out the best in your colleagues, and ensuring that everyone’s ideas and contributions are welcome is essential for becoming an effective leader.
Becoming an effective leader involves learning to bring out the best in yourself while also encouraging the best from those around you. Whether you are just starting in your career or have been in your role for a long time, it is never too early or too late to start developing and strengthening these crucial leadership skills.