These traits are not the typical ones we see listed over and over when speaking about the traits of leaders–but perhaps these means they are all the more important.
Calmness. Be calm when making hard decisions. It may be easy to make a decision but not always easy to make a good decision. If a decision is tough and emotion-filled, try to wait a while or sleep on it. Let the emotion melt away before coming to a final decision.
Grace under pressure. This is related to calmness. The still mind can more easily analyze a situation, a person or a plan. Try not to get agitated too quickly or unnecessarily. Handle stress effectively.
Consistency. Be consistent in your behavior. Employees want leadership they can count on and trust. Clients like to know they are getting the same person every time they come to you. No one likes a wildcard in business.
Persistence. Not everything is accomplished easily on the first try. Perseverance after disappointment may be hard to come by but will help. A leader who gives up is no leader at all.
Judgment. This may seem the most unusual trait and is not meant in the negative way one might first assume. Other synonyms for this may be experience, seasoning, or business savvy. These all add up to judgment. This is used by leaders to make decisions to yield positive outcomes not to punish or admonish.
Here are 8 daily practices for leaders, future leaders and people looking to better themselves.
1. Walk away from gossip.
2. Spend five minutes in another person’s shoes.
3. Give one person unexpected praise.
4. Do one thing no one else is willing to do.
5. Shine the spotlight on one person.
6. “Sell” one thing.
7. Give one person and unexpected hand.
8. Admit one failing.
These need not be “big” things that we do each do. Completing the list on the micro scale each day will add up to more than trying and failing to complete the list on the macro scale.
Many people have qualified different styles of leadership; even more have debated which is the best style. Instead, consider carrying these with you like a multi-tool or swiss army knife. They will always be there; you just need to choose the right tool for the situation. During the normal operation of one’s organization they will probably become comfortable with one or two styles that come together with their personality to create the kind of leadership they will be known for. But all good leaders need to adapt to whatever is in front of them.
The pacesetting leader is one who says, do as I do now. This is also known as leading by example and often what people consider leadership to be. However, if your team are only ever doing as you do, there is no room for innovation or growth.
The authoritative leader demands come with me. This style is great for when a new vision or direction is needed. Often when an organization needs immediate change this is a great style to get your team motivated and moving in one direction.
The affiliative leader tells us that people come first. This style is often needed if there are tough times in the company and team members are hurting. It is nurturing, but too much nurturing leadership can weaken performance if team members come to rely on the leader too much.
The coaching leader encourage us to try things. This is a successful style when trying to establish a chain of leadership and responsibility in an organization. This kind of leader identifies his team members’ personal strengths and helps develop them, but it won’t work with a team that doesn’t want to learn or develop.
The coercive leader demands do what I tell you. This style of leadership is widely considered to only be a good choice in emergencies when decisions need to be made and executed swiftly. In long term use it will alienate team members.
The democratic leader asks what do you think? This is a great style for generating new ideas, team building or leadership building. It may not always be productive in everyday use as it slows things down.
The job of a leader is challenging, especially since it comes with the responsibility of success but also the well-being of the teams of people in the organization. Here are some tips on inspiring your team.
Don’t be bossy. Being a leader is different than being a boss. Any one can assign work and punish people who don’t complete it. Leadership requires a high level of responsibility and personal involvement in the projects one oversees. Leadership is more about influence than authority.
Make your team feel safe. No goal is protected entirely from failure. It can happen by chance or human error. Allow your team to feel safe failing with you. If something goes wrong don’t immediately blame the team or point fingers about specific mistakes.
Motivate and encourage people. Use positive and encouraging feedback. Help team members see that their ideas matter. Encourage them to develop their talents. Make sure to note when their work has improved or impresses you.
Good leaders are typically comfortable with who they are. This means they are able to do what needs doing and say what needs saying with confidence, even if that means sometimes breaking outside the current paradigm.
This conviction is what gives leaders the ability to create confidence in others. They are enabled to clearly communicate their vision to others around them and motivate them to their own successes which in turn leads to success for the organization.
A good leader is focused on what is best for the organization, unconditionally. They don’t need to prove themselves in the way a new member of the organization might feel the need to. The leader’s vision for the company always comes before their own self-interest.
While good leaders are confident decision makers and allows their inner voice to guide them, they should always be available for consultation and suggestions. Seeing things from as many perspective as possible while maintaining their vision is the best way to achieve it.
What does leadership mean exactly? The word can conjure many images in the mind.
A political leader. Someone chasing a cause they are passionate about or that is personal to them.
Someone exploring the unknown and the very new. Someone cutting a path through the metaphorical jungle to bring the rest of us along with them.
An executive, CEO or business owner developing their company, their strategies, products and services to beat out the competition.
Leaders are almost always helping themselves, but they cannot be a leader if they are not also helping others do the right things. They set the direction and tone. They build inspirational visions for people to get behind. They create something never before seen.
Leaders also need to be the compass and use their skills in guidance to help others reach the correct destination in a ethical and fair way.