Leadership is often used as a broad term that can lose its meaning. A leader is someone who gets work done, not on his or her own, but through the efforts and coordination of others. A leader builds teams, networks, and coalitions and rallies people around a common goal. To be successful there are a number of standard traits a leader will typically exhibit. Let’s talk about what these key traits are and how they impact the success of the leader and their team.
Ten Key Traits of a Leader:
Good leaders aren’t looking for credit, they’re looking to give it. The measure of a good leader is the team that follows them. It only makes sense for that leader to stand behind his or her team when it’s time to dole out credit for successes. A good leader knows where to direct the celebration of successes.
Leading people is a role that a leader is trusted with. It takes a great deal of care to live up to that trust. Treating people with care and concern is not just the right thing to do. It’s a way to show your team that you value them as people not just employees of the company.
A good leader has to have a clear vision and the ability to share it. They make it a vision that those around him or her can rally around. When a team is bogged down in the daily grind of executing, it is key that their leader helps them continually take a step back to see the progress towards the goal.
There’s no roadmap in life so leaders must have the vision to follow but more importantly must be fearless to execute in spite of doubts. Leadership involves making tough decisions that affect many people and often a lot of money. Second guessing is not a good leader’s friend. Being fearless in the face of adversity is often what sets good leaders apart from great ones.
5. Self Aware
One of the most important traits of a good leader is self awareness. Building a team that is successful is reliant on the team’s leader bringing together people that compliment his or her strengths and weakness. Teams that are too much alike may get things done more quickly, but they also don’t create outcomes that are the best for the company. Having a diverse mix of skill sets in a team will ensure greater and more concrete success.
6. Master Delegator
Good leaders don’t just delegate the easy stuff, they delegate the tasks that will challenge their team to learn and grow. Delegation is about trust. Team members who are trusted with important aspects of an execution will feel ownership of the outcome. They’ll be even more inspired to achieve success.
The quickest way to lose respect as a leader is to withhold information or even go as far as lying. A good leader focuses on transparent and honest communication with their teams. They will settle for nothing less from those on the team as well. Moreover, when situations arise where you don’t have all the information, its important to share what you do know. Avoiding the discussion will only cause people to fill in the blanks themselves. That can create a narrative that isn’t authentic and create stress for the team. The moment your team loses trust, they also lose respect for you as a leader.
Leaders often say they’d rather be feared than liked. In the real world, people do their best work for leaders they respect and ultimately like. No one wants to work grueling hours towards audacious goals for a leader that they can’t stand. Being personable by taking an interest in the lives of your team members, expressing an interest in their opinions, and sharing the more human side of yourself will build a more cohesive team and a more enjoyable working environment.
9. Clear Communicator
Good leaders don’t just have a vision, they have a clear way to communicate it. No matter how great a strategy or plan is, a consistent vision is needed. If you can’t get others to see the end product and understand what it takes to get there, success will be hard fought at best. Healthy lines of communication are key to building trust with your team and ensuring a more productive working environment.
Your team takes cues from you as their leader. If you show doubt or fear, they will pick up on it and it will breed throughout the team. Having confidence in your decisions and instilling that confidence in those around you ensures that your team continues to move forward and drive towards the end goal.