You don’t have to be the boss to benefit from good leadership skills. The ability to take the lead can pay dividends, both in your career and personal development. There are many traits that may be ascribed to a good leader, but in this feature we’ve summarised the ones that are useful at any stage of your career.
1. Challenge the Status Quo
A good leader asks ‘how’ and ‘why’. They’re prepare to constantly challenge their own and their team’s systems and processes to improve productivity and the efficiency and morale of the team.
2. See Situations From Different Perspectives
Understanding what makes each individual tick allows you to ‘sell’ tasks or projects in such a way that they’re more likely to take them on and drive them forward willingly.
3. Lead By Example
Quite simply, adopt and consistently display the traits you value in others.
Freedom to fail allows us to learn from our mistakes so resist the temptation to take back control of a failing task. Clear guidance and directions to get the task back on track will have a motivational – and perhaps inspirational – effect on colleagues or team members.
5. Reward Achievements
We all appreciate being acknowledged for a job well done. Sometimes a simple ‘thank you’ is all that’s needed, but when a difficult project or task has gone well, or a colleague has gone beyond the call of duty to assist you, a small employee incentive or perhaps a team event may be appropriate.
6. Communicate Effectively
By clearly explaining the goals of a task or project and the measures of its success, and by being open to suggestions as to how to make it go smoothly, you’re far more likely to gain others’ commitment to it.
7. Be Decisive
The ability to take clear and decisive action when necessary is a highly valued trait at any stage of your career. However, it’s vital that you’re armed with all the facts first, to avoid having to backtrack later.
8. Be Optimistic
A positive approach allows us to look for ways to gain consensus and get individuals to work effectively, either alone or within a team. In contrast, a pessimistic attitude can affect morale and productivity.
9. Have Discipline
Good leaders are driven to act and achieve results. They stay focussed on the goal while inspiring and encouraging others to participate by means of a clearly communicated plan for success.
10. Have Integrity
At the core of a good leader is a trust and value system based on integrity and genuine character that adheres to a truthful path, even when easier – but potentially damaging – short cuts are readily available. Of all leadership traits, this is the one most likely to generate loyal followers.
As only the few are born leaders, most of us need to work on our leadership potential and nurture the skills that encourage others to follow. So if your career goal is to inspire and motivate others to achieve great results, there’s no time like the present to start developing your leadership skills.
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