While there may seem to be people who are “born leaders,” it is certainly possible to learn the qualities of a successful leader. These leadership qualities can help everyone, whether they are managers or just simply working on a team and collaborating with others. You can be a successful leader by paying attention and being committed to the task. Read on for the top leadership qualities you need to know.
Sometimes, leaders who are tasked with guiding the performance of others have a critical blind spot. This involves an inability to look critically at their actions. As a result, they may lack any awareness of how others perceive them. Consequently, others may follow them reluctantly if they even follow them at all.
The opposite of this is a leader who takes the time to focus on themselves and scrutinize their actions. This must be done objectively because sometimes the results may be difficult to process, especially if the leader realizes that they need a course correction.
People tend to look at their actions through rose-colored glasses. However, others tend to look at actions from a critical perspective. Leaders need to see themselves as others would see them to avoid possible problem areas. Self-awareness leads to necessary course correction that, in turn, makes for timely adjustments to a leadership style.
Effective leaders can realize when they do something wrong and learn from their mistakes. However, the prerequisite for this is being honest enough with one’s self to admit the mistake. This leadership quality is the dividing line between those who pretend to be a leader and those who genuinely are.
2. Listening Skills
At its core, leadership is about people. One can lead, but if nobody follows, then they are walking in a line by themselves. Of course, people may be forced to follow by virtue of the leader’s position. However, their allegiance will be halfhearted at best.
This is where the ability to listen to others comes into play as one of the top leadership qualities. There is a fine line between hearing someone and truly listening to them. Listening means that the leader gives people their say and affords others full consideration.
People want to know that they are being heard. Sometimes, the most valuable thing that people can receive is the ability to speak their minds and know that what they have to say is being taken seriously. This will motivate people to give their maximum effort toward a task.
The ideal leader should strike a balance between talking and listening. Giving people their say is a hallmark of the inclusive style that a leader needs to show to get others to buy into what they are selling.
3. Respect for Others
People will not want to follow a leader who does not treat people with respect. Even if the leader treats the team with respect but not others, it still has an effect on their leadership. People can easily see themselves being treated with disrespect if they know the leader is mistreating others.
At the same time, respect for others is an appealing personal quality. In regard to the age-old Machiavellian question, it is better to be loved than feared. When a team sees the leader displaying kindness, they will like and follow the leader.
There is no better way for a leader to show a team what they are about than to treat others with courtesy. Being rude or disrespectful is a surefire way to do long-term damage to the team’s morale. At the same time, respect sets a standard for everyone to follow.
4. Leading By Example Through These Top Leadership Qualities
When a leader does one thing but expects others to do something different, it is only a matter of time before the team starts to follow the example. If a leader wants a team to act a certain way, the best thing to do is to model that behavior. The best leaders are the ones who set the tone for the team with their actions. For example, if a leader wants others to work hard and to show initiative, the leader should do that themselves.
Finally, when a leader is accessible and in the proverbial trenches with their team, there is a healthy respect that is built. It is difficult to expect a team to do things that the leader cannot or will not do themselves. A leader who is a walking model of how to get things done is the most effective type of leader.