What is leadership? What attributes and traits define a successful leader? Is it anyone able to lead well? Or is it much more than that?
Leadership is one of such concepts that, like management or talent development, we naturally understand but struggle to define.
Great leaders don’t all lead in the same manner or have the same experience, which contributes to this in part.
While some strongly emphasize employee experience and work-life balance, others aggressively push their staff. Some people are considerably more hands-on, whilst others do a lot of delegating.
Great leaders may be engineers, salesmen, senior managers, or even graduates of business schools.
However, none of those leaders just began leading people and teams on instinct. You attempt something, make errors, and then modify your approach in an iterative process.
What is leadership?
A term in your title, a certain pay range, or any particular quality like charisma or extroversion has nothing to do with leadership. There are many excellent descriptions of leadership available, particularly from people who really possess it.
The person who has and uses certain qualities and attributes in their leading capacity may be the best way to describe leadership, nevertheless. We’ve outlined a few potent qualities and features required for effective leadership.
“If you can’t properly manage yourself, it’s difficult to manage others” says Andre Disselkamp, co-founder of Insurancy.
“Self-management entails being able to prioritize your objectives and taking accountability for achieving them.
You must be able to manage your time, attention, and emotions while keeping conscious of your abilities shortcomings, and possible sources of bias if you want to be a successful leader.
Outstanding leaders have a knack for managing stress and juggling their personal and professional obligations.
But you must also keep in mind the value of compassion and be able to react appropriately to people and situations. Keep in mind to use restraint and discipline in your behavior, but avoid being unduly rigid or reserved.”
Outstanding leaders are able to see the future of their organization and set definite, actionable objectives that will be advantageous to it. They exude confidence and optimism, which energizes others around them.
Managing change while finding a balance between stability and development is what it takes to be a visionary. You must adopt fresh strategies without straying from the primary objectives.
Being a visionary involves realizing that things are always changing, therefore what worked in the past may not work now.
As you execute new initiatives and let your company model change over time, practice being flexible and nimble.
Building Relationships That Last
A compelling leader may drive their team to work tirelessly towards the company’s objectives and inspire people to follow them.
Employees will be motivated to work harder to achieve success for the firm if they feel valued, and appreciated, and that what they do matters.
Outstanding leaders are aware of the importance of networking for their company’s success and their personal and professional advancement.
Leaders create meaningful connections with consumers, clients, partners, and even rivals by building a broad and diverse network of people.
Barry Brown, owner of Counter Culture DIY shares: “Being grateful may improve sleep, lower anxiety, and sadness, and boost one’s sense of self-worth. You may also become a better leader via gratitude.
Despite the fact that most individuals claim they’d be prepared to work harder for a supervisor who showed appreciation, very few people consistently say “thank you” in professional contexts.
The finest leaders understand the value of being appreciative at work and its impact on effective leadership.”
“Influence” might seem like a bad term to certain people. The ability to persuade others via persuasion strategies such as rational, emotionally charged, or cooperative arguments, however, is a crucial quality of inspiring leadership.
Influence must be conducted in a genuine and open manner since it differs significantly from manipulation. It needs trust and emotional intelligence.
Empathy is a crucial component of emotional intelligence and successful leadership, and it is connected with work performance.
You have a higher chance of being seen by your employer as a better performer if you exhibit more inclusive leadership and sympathetic behaviors towards your direct subordinates.
Additionally, empathy and inclusiveness are essential for enhancing the working environment for people around you.
Being open and honest is one way to develop trust.
Employees are more likely to understand their roles and how they may each contribute to the growth of the firm if they are more transparent about the organization’s objectives and difficulties.
Higher levels of employee engagement are a direct result of this feeling of worth and purpose.
People need to understand what you’re saying in order for them to be enthusiastic about working with you to make that goal a reality.
People should be met where they are in your communication, given a sense of where the organization is headed, and then given a road plan on how to go from where the organization is now to where you want it to go.
Although it is often meant to encourage accountability, information sharing, and cooperation, too much openness may have the opposite impact.
Wide-open work environments and an abundance of real-time data on how people spend their time may make workers feel exposed and defenseless.
When seen, they behave differently. Even if they have nothing awful to conceal, they start going to tremendous measures to keep what they’re doing a secret.
Experimentation and cooperation will be encouraged by striking a balance between openness and privacy and by establishing various kinds of limits.
Innovation and Risk-Taking
Establishing and retaining your company’s competitive edge depends on experimentation. Excellent leaders are aware of this and promote innovation and risk-taking inside their organizations.
You can’t wave a magic wand, tell them to be more creative, and then the following day discover that they’re taking chances and trying new things.
Effective Leadership promotes an innovation-friendly culture by encouraging experimentation, dismantling unspoken rules, and accepting failure.
These actions, supported by data, may lead to breakthroughs that otherwise wouldn’t have been made.