While there are many different qualities that can contribute to a great leader, there are a few common ones that can be helpful when developing leadership skills:
It is important that leaders hold themselves and their teams accountable for the work each is responsible for. Ownership is a key part of leadership.
Leaders may receive feedback from team members and they need to not only hear them but really listen. What is the person trying to tell you but may not be saying exactly? Leaders do well when they learn how to ask the right questions to find out helpful information.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” African Proverb. Many leaders need to collaborate across direct reports, the organization and outside the organization with vendors, third-party companies and contractors. It is key to find the common goal and create a partnership instead of unhealthy competition or confusion on responsibilities.
Leaders must have courage in many various instances, such as correcting behavior or making unpopular decisions.
Communicating in an articulate and positive style creates a clear path for the rest of the team, project or meeting you are leading to follow.
It is important for leaders to understand how the people around them are feeling about projects, decisions, morale, direction and company or team vision.
Working with a team of people means tasks, goals and responsibilities will shift. A flexible leader is able to adjust and maintain ownership of the team, project or meeting as needed.
Being clear on goals will help the rest of a leader’s team be efficient and focused.
Leaders do well when they adopt a growth mindset. Circumstances often change from when a project, challenge or issue originally surfaced. Leaders have to take into consideration that technology may have evolved or personal issues may have arisen for their team. If they can keep a growth mindset and are willing to adapt, they can usually keep the project moving—even if adjustments need to be made.
Great leaders admit their mistakes and elevate those around them. Humility is essential when leading a team.
Leaders should be able to develop ideas, filter the ideas of others, solve problems and complete many other tasks that require innovation and creativity.
Teams are motivated by a drive towards a common goal. The leader of a team should be passionate about the goal, creating unity among their team to work together.
Mistakes, miscommunications and failures are inevitable. It is important for leaders to be patient and offer guidance through these times.
Developing problem-solving skills allows teams to move past roadblocks with minimal disruption.
Leaders bear the responsibility to improve the areas of the business or team that they own. This might mean creating new processes, hiring new people or changing the status quo.
Great leaders treat their teams with respect, gaining respect in return. They value feedback and want to hear the opinions of their teammates.
Being open and honest makes work more efficient and enjoyable.
Leadership requires delegation. When leaders trust their team to complete what they are assigned, it encourages positive morale and mutual respect.
Many leaders are leaders because they express the skills and knowledge required for a certain role in an organization or a specialty. Consider authors or keynote speakers. These “experts” need to possess the self-awareness to be able to hone in on what they really know, what they may not be an expert in and how to bring in that knowledge. It’s ok to not know everything and a leader relies on the other subject matter experts around them.
Leaders are effective and inspirational when they stay knowledgeable of moving trends and the topics they are leading. Not only does this help leaders hone their crafts and contribute to their purposes, but it also helps to inspire the team to continue learning too.
These are just a few important qualities found in great leaders. While these are all soft skills or “people skills,” having strong technical skills in your industry is also necessary when assuming a leadership position.