Five Must-Have Qualities Of Highly Effective Leaders
John Maxwell’s famous quote “A person’s leadership ability determines how effective they are” holds true for every individual, but especially for team leaders like you, where leading others is a part of your job responsibilities, and gaining skills and abilities as a leader is essential to your career’s long- and short-term success.
In my work as a high-performance coach, I have observed five common leadership qualities that successful leaders possess. The purpose of this article is to give you an overview of these five qualities and to share some tips for mastering them.
Without trust, leadership cannot exist and integrity will be the foundation on which that trust is built. When it comes to defining what integrity is, C.S. Lewis’ quote “doing the right thing always, even if no one is looking” hits the nail on the head. Integrity starts by defining your values and using them as a compass to lead your every decision. This will ensure that you show up consistently whether in person or from afar and your team will know without a doubt who you are and what they can expect from you and will enthusiastically follow your lead.
Here are some of my top tips to develop your integrity as a team leader:
- Keep your commitments
- Admit your mistakes
- Encourage team members to speak freely
- Stand up for what you believe in
- Surround yourself with people of integrity
Vision, Passion, and Belief
When leading a team, you need to have a clear vision of the end goal you wish to achieve. Equally important is that you are passionate and believe in the importance of achieving this goal. Without this vision, passion, and belief, it will be very challenging to motivate your team to work towards accomplishing the goals you share with them. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon is a great example of the power of having a vision, passion, and belief. He took an idea that he had and with his visionary insight, he transformed the way people purchase products, and today his company has a market value of around 175 billion dollars. It would never have been possible for him to bring this idea to life without his vision, his passion, and his belief in it.
It is not lack of vision that challenges most leaders, but how to effectively communicate that vision so others can take ownership of it. Fear of a lack of acceptance of their vision is common among leaders. It is very normal to struggle with these feelings, but make sure that you work on overcoming them. So that when you do share your vision, your passion, your belief, and the confidence you exude will be contagious and your team will be happy to take ownership of it.
Empathy is having the ability to understand the needs of others and being aware of their feelings and thoughts. By empathizing with your teams on the challenges that they will have to overcome to accomplish the tasks you set out for them, they will feel understood and validated and a lot more appreciated and will happily accomplish their tasks without complaint. Most importantly, leading with empathy will result in the solidifying of their trust in you as their leader.
Empathy cannot be something you fake. You need to start with a genuine interest in your team. You can become more empathetic by listening and trying to understand the perspectives of your team members that differ from yours. Even if you disagree with their views, this will make them feel more valued and appreciated.
As change is constant and inevitable, leaders need to be able to quickly adapt to new situations. The COVID-19 Pandemic is a prime example of the importance of adaptability. Due to the pandemic, many businesses were forced to go completely virtual in a very short amount of time. A key determining factor in their survival was mainly as a result of how quickly their leaders within each of these businesses could adapt to this new reality and develop effective new systems and rules to manage their teams remotely. Working on your adaptability skills will make you more capable of facing any challenge that comes your way, whether it is a pandemic or not.
Here are a few tips to begin working on your adaptability skills:
- Think positively — No matter how challenging a situation may seem, find the silver lining.
- Prepare yourself for failure — You will experience some failures when adapting to changes. Accepting your fear of failure and then doing what needs to be done despite it is the best way to overcome it.
- Be resourceful — by having a resourceful mindset, you will be able to adapt to the most challenging situations.
Setting priorities is a skill you will find to be invaluable as a team leader. Setting priorities is not just about writing a list of objectives to give out to your team, it involves taking the core strategic goals that you need to accomplish and translating them into tasks that will accomplish these goals most efficiently. As a result of these efforts, you and your team will be able to get more done with less stress and anxiety.
One tip that has helped me and many of my clients with managing priorities is working backs and starting with the end in mind. This helps to ensure that the tasks you create lead directly to the accomplishment of your desired goal.
As a direct result of developing these five qualities, not only will you be more influential, establish stronger connections, and improve your focus and productivity, and your team will produce the results you desire without friction or struggle, you will also find that the benefits spill over into your personal life, improving your relationships and overall quality of life.
While it is possible to develop these leadership qualities on your own, having a professional high-performance coach by your side to hold you accountable and guide you step by step is the most reliable method of achieving your leadership goals. It would be my pleasure to assist you.