9 Traits Essential to Being a Good Leader
If leadership is a skill that can be developed, which I believe is true, then how do you go about it?
Here are some traits that I believe are essential for good leaders, my hope is as you read through these, you picture a scenario you've had, did you exercise some of these traits? How and if not, how could you have? How did that impact their and your work, the relationship?
Think of a time a leader showed you these traits and how that impacted you. Reflection of personal experiences will help you understand why each trait is so important.
Essential Traits of a Leader:
Empathy: Since you are leading others, understanding their plight is vital in relating to their day and their circumstances, it's the humanness of leadership. When I did a survey on LinkedIn, this was the most desired trait leaders wished their managers had, many thought leaders agree. Read more on the importance of empathy.
Compassion: Different from empathy. With compassion, you are having the feelings towards the person or situation. Empathy is understanding the feelings others are having. The Dalai Lama on compassion.
Relinquish control: If you want a self-sufficient team and people to take responsibility for their work, it starts here: you must let them do. Their way, on their own. If there are mistakes, that's where the learning happens and is the opportunity for you develop your team.
Accountability: "When the cat's away, the mice will play." People are people, if they do not think you care enough to hold them to it, they won't care enough to hold themselves to it.
Capable: Your skillset, people want to feel like they are in good hands, so this is vital. They must trust your decisions, and that is inspired by how well you know your business.
Caring: Showing your team they are important and not just sources of output. This cultivates loyalty, morale, and engagement. Think about the times when your bosses cared, most likely your work and well-being were superior compared to when bosses showed zero interest.
Courage: Having the confidence to make the call, have the difficult conversation, or make the tough decision is part of leadership. This is by no means easy. Being consistent with your values and in your integrity speaks volumes: that you do what you say and follow what you believe. Great article on courage and leadership.
Instinct: The ability to trust what you know and feel versus what everything else tells you. Do you know when to go with your gut? John Maxwell on trusting your gut.
Teacher: This is where you make your impact. To inspire and develop those you are responsible for, so they can stand on their own and make a better life for themselves is, in my eyes, the most rewarding part of leadership. This ripple effect is part of your legacy.
The fact that you are considering improvement is the first step, as a 'problem' can only be solved once we are aware of it.
Then, the work begins.
Sometimes, when we are the only ones monitoring improvement or commitment, the journey can be challenging. With the support of a friend, coach, significant other, you will not only reflect the journey to that person, you will also receive validation and guidance.
Click here for my support in this, a complimentary call to gain clarity.