The success of any business, idea, or endeavor is said to come down to leadership. Strong leadership values are critical in productivity, morale, focus, and growth. Being a leader can be challenging, but a great leader earns the respect, admiration, and loyalty of those around them.
Many well-known leaders have different personalities, and various scenarios call for different leadership styles. But some essential qualities that all good leaders share include:
- emotional intelligence
- ability to delegate
- active listening
- able to give feedback
To be a good leader, it is important to work on and practice these qualities when you can. It’s also helpful to know what your strengths and weaknesses may be so that you can become a more effective leader. While specific skills like communication seem obvious, here are nine other essential skills that make a good leader.
Good Leaders Practice Active Listening
Good communication is imperative to outstanding leadership. But communication is not only about what or how you say something. Listening is a critical element of good communication. Active listening is a way of listening that involves giving someone your full, undivided attention.
Inactive listening, your attention is demonstrated by verbal and physical cues that prove to the listener that you are engaged and retaining the message they are delivering to you.
Making the people around you feel heard and listened to is an important quality of a good leader. It also allows you to get to know the people you are leading on a more personal level and allow you to lead more effectively based on their personalities, needs, or challenges.
Interpersonal Communication and Emotional Intelligence Help Good Leaders Communicate Even Better
As I said earlier, good communication skills are imperative to being a good leader. Interpersonal communication refers to the many ways that we communicate other than the words we say.
Interpersonal communication refers to hand gestures, tone, facial expressions, and body language. It is important that when you communicate with others, especially in groups, you are aware of the many ways you are expressing thoughts or emotions.
Great interpersonal communication allows you to reinforce the thoughts and ideas you are sharing and to build trust amongst your team. Great interpersonal communication also focuses on using exact and intentional vocabulary to enhance your ability to communicate more effectively. Source: indeed.com
Good Leaders Delegate Well
One of the things that good leaders do well is delegate tasks. A good leader recognizes their strengths and weaknesses and also identifies strengths in others. Assigning projects and tasks to others allows your team to be personally vested in the goals and frees up time for a good leader to continue strengthening their leadership skills.
It is impossible to do everything on your own and maintain productivity. A good leader knows this and takes care to assign tasks to those that are qualified and skilled. This builds strong, trusting working relationships and adds to positive morale.
Good Leaders Are Empathetic
Having empathy as a leader is an important skill in helping to develop and motivate your team. Empathy is the ability to understand and feel what a member of your team is going through. This is essential in understanding the causes of possible poor performance or any struggle your team may be having.
Different personality types require different kinds of leadership, and empathy is critical to understanding the needs of your team so you can lead them in the most effective way for them. Being aware of the needs, thoughts, and experiences of others is a crucial component in strong leadership.
Giving Feedback is A Vital Part of Being a Good Leader
Good leaders are always trying to help their team members grow. Providing constructive feedback in a clear, kind, and empathetic way helps your team improve their skills and rise to the occasion of being able to take on more tasks.
Giving frequent, constructive, and respectful feedback builds trust and confidence among your team members. Part of delivering constructive feedback as a leader is communicating clear expectations and setting your team up for success.
Knowing that you are invested in their success and committed to their development can be invaluable in your team’s motivation and performance.
Good Leaders Are Accountable
Arnold H Glasow said, “A good leader takes little more than his share of the blame and little less than his share of the credit.” (Source: blog.taskque.com) Good leaders breed a culture of responsibility throughout their teams.
A good leader does not pass blame around and admits when they are wrong or have made a mistake. In turn, a good leader will also acknowledge the successes of their team, as well as help, correct them when they have made a mistake or need guidance.
This fosters mutual respect and helps to boost individualized motivation knowing that everyone on the team is held to the same standards regardless of their positions of power. Holding each other accountable in positive and respectful ways makes for a very productive team.
Good Leaders Are Open-Minded
A good leader knows that they alone do not have all the answers. One of the marks of a strong and effective leader is the ability to stay open to ideas and suggestions from those they work with.
I mentioned that great leaders give vital feedback to their teams, but perhaps even more important is their ability to receive feedback from their teams with an open mind. This helps a leader see outside their vision and lead their teams more effectively.
Open-minded leaders ask great questions and are always seeking input on how their vision can be better, do better, and grow more.
Patience is Central Leadership
When you are managing a team or running a business, there are many times when emotions run high. Knowing when the right time to make a move, present an idea, or meet with members of your team requires both insight and patience.
Patient leaders also recognize the importance of collecting facts before taking action. Having the patience to be fully self-aware and aware of the complexities that accompany leading a team or running a business allows for better decision making and teamwork.
Being patient is also critical when mentoring and growing your team members. Taking the time to be intentional in your interactions requires patience and presence of mind.
A Good Leader Is Humble
Humility goes a long way when it comes to excellent leadership. A humble leader understands that outstanding leadership is about being in service to the team. The leader may be steering the ship, but they are doing so by supporting the team members around them.
Great leaders are open to doing work that may be considered “beneath them” without giving it a second thought. Being willing to work right alongside your team members and get your hands dirty plays a critical role in building the trust and respect of your team and colleagues.
Humble leaders make it a point to attribute successes to the efforts of their team and co-workers and allow themselves to be more in the background. While some think this may outwardly present as weakness, humble leaders lead with a quiet strength that harbors high morale, loyalty, trust, and relatability.
Being A Leader Is About Being Supportive
To lead your team, colleagues, or others to success, a great leader will focus much of their attention on the emotional well-being and connection to their team. While they will have to make tough choices, a supportive, empathetic leader is one that will undoubtedly build strong working relationships that are productive and positive for everyone involved.