What makes a great leader?
Everyone is a leader. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mum, a CEO, a student or an executive. This means that everyone also has different experiences and qualities necessary for effective leadership. Most of us are somewhat decent leaders, some are naturally exceptional and few are truly great leaders. While everyone has a different definition of what makes a great leader, for the sake of this article we will assume that
Leaders who can adapt to their surrounding environments and empower their team to grow and succeed together are considered great leaders
Effective leadership requires constant attention, persistence and dedication. Without an effective fellowship, real leadership cannot exist. However, this does not mean that you need an official team whose dedicated leader you are – it can also mean that you influence the people around you, lead by example and make something happen that’s valuable and “worth it” to you.
Leadership is never an easy task. It comes with great experiences and terrible ones, with boring days and stressful days. What makes a leader great is that she or he can handle every situation, resolve the problems, take advantage of the good times and come out of the difficult ones stronger than before. Below are some key attributes of great leadership that you can apply and practice in your day-to-day:
Honesty and Integrity:
One of the characteristics that make a great leader is an honesty. When you are the representative of a group, a team, a family or an organization, it is necessary to be straightforward. People don’t like being left in the dark and they appreciate outright lies even less. By leading ethically and with honesty, you’re modelling this core value and your fellowship will follow suit. They will feel comfortable sharing the truth with you as you did with them. Your honesty and integrity will help you build a strong, respectful relationship between you and your team.
Leadership through Delegation:
No matter what’s the situation, always remember that you can't do everything by yourself. Great leaders know that delegation is more important than just passing on the task to another person. It is all about believing in your employees and their skills and giving them responsibility. Delegating to others demonstrates stronger than words could that you believe in their capabilities, and this can result in a positive team spirit and a productive and empowering work environment. Your workers need to feel acknowledged and trusted. So by giving them a task, they will by and large feel respected and honored that they got chosen, in turn making them feel important and valued. Be aware though to not overwhelm your employee or show a strong preference towards one employee since this breeds resentment among others.
Communication for Leaders:
Strong communication skills are key to success. Without effective communication, your team members cannot comprehend the main goal, your objectives, and your vision. Simply put, they will not get WHY they’re doing what they’re doing, which will kill any active participation and proactivity within your team. Effective communication is the backbone of leadership. Communication should be persistent with regards to establishing requirements, guidelines or giving valuable feedback.
Leadership through Confidence:
Another quality that characterizes a great leader is having confidence. While you do not need to be an extrovert to be a great leader (As a matter of fact, world-famous leaders such as Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln and Mark Zuckerberg are reportedly introverts), you still need to project confidence in your goal, objectives and your vision. Your confidence will be taken up by your team, making them feel strong and sparking their passion towards the shared vision. If you’re transparent about days or months when the outlook is not great, as they happen in any organization, group or team (talk about honesty, right) but keep your cool and stay confident in what you’re pursuing. As long as you stay firm in your vision, such situations will only minimally affect your teams’ attitude and work ethic. Your team trusts you. You’re their stewardess. As long as they see that you remain calm, they know that everything’s going to be alright.
Leadership through Commitment:
A great leader is committed to the shared vision. Commitment to leadership inspires and attracts people. It shows that the leader is dedicated to the goal. There is nothing more inspiring than seeing their leader working alongside everyone else – which is why a lot of firms are moving away from individual offices and towards open floorplans! By demonstrating your commitment to the organization and particularly your group, you won't just win the respect of your group, you will likewise also ingrain that equivalent perseverance and drive in your followers. Show your commitment, and others will follow this same pattern. Keep in mind that if you require your team to work hard and produce quality work and you want their respect, you will need to show that you’re doing the same thing.
Leadership with a Positive Attitude:
While some leaders will tell you that a “firm hand”, army-like discipline and punishments are the way to go, Nokia is a prime example of why this doesn’t work. The engineers didn’t dare to admit that they didn’t know how to develop a smartphone and didn’t communicate that to their leadership, leading to the now famous business school case study of how Nokia lost their place in the phone market. We, at Lead today Shape tomorrow stand for strong team spirit, commitment and high energy levels as key for successful work. Keep in mind that every group is made up of individuals and people work best in an atmosphere of joy and productivity. Team events, showing them that you, too are an individual with hopes and dreams and complimenting your group every now and then will keep them happy and committed to you and your vision. Chances are, that then they also won’t mind staying an extra hour every now and then and will provide their best work and effort towards the goal.