Nine attributes every leader should strive to possess
Are you the best possible leader you can be? Or are there areas you know you need to work on? To help you, here are nine attributes every leader should strive to possess.
Building a solid reputation in the world of leadership can take you through many paths. Whether you are focused on a career in business, community development, politics or some other form of engagement, developing the right qualities is essential to long-term success.
Leadership, by definition, is not something everybody can embody; it takes lots of work, a bit of luck and plenty of dedication to make a good leader.
Thankfully, many of the most critical components of leadership can be learned or developed over time. If you’re just entering the world of leadership, you may have many questions and opportunities for improvement. In order to make the most of this growth, knowing which areas and attributes are most important to leadership is vital.
Nine attributes every leader should strive to possess
To help you become the best possible leader you can be, regardless of your profession, let’s examine nine attributes you should strive to possess.
1) A desire to learn
Above all else, a leader-in-training should have a desire to learn as much as possible about leadership and the field(s) in which they work. Without this critical attribute, becoming a good leader is practically impossible.
If you ask most leaders whether they were naturally born with their talents or learned them throughout life, they’ll answer with the latter. Leadership training courses are a good place to start, but you’ll need to maintain a natural curiosity throughout any career in order to master all aspects of leadership.
In order to be an effective leader, you must embody an immovable rock amidst a massive, swirling ocean. Employees, clients and volunteers alike look to leaders for their wisdom and predictability. One of the biggest attributes that make good leaders is the ability to count on them in important situations.
From maintaining a daily routine to responding to identical circumstances in a consistent fashion, it is critical to have a sense of regularity about your governing actions and philosophy. This, arguably more than anything else, can help to build successful work cultures around you, the leader.
Any effective leader inspires those who surround them. Without the ability to inspire, work structures can fall apart and leave goals or projects unfinished. Because of this, the ability to inspire – arguably rooted in a leader’s confidence – is crucial in generating the best possible outcomes.
By exuding confidence in any leadership role, you’ll be able to more adequately convince, motivate, and ultimately inspire your workers and followers. This can be particularly useful when working on complex, long-term projects, as many people tend to become burnt out when dealing with the same challenges for extended periods of time.
4) Good communication skills
Anybody can have a great idea. From brainstorming the basics to drafting out the more technical aspects, an individual’s ability to plan by himself or herself isn’t particularly difficult. However, when these ideas must emerge into the broader consensus of a workforce or volunteer staff, it can become more difficult.
Great leaders know that leadership training for communications is an important part of mastering one’s skill-set. Great communicators often naturally become leaders, but not every leader starts off with a great set of communications skills. As such, this is one of the areas where most leaders-in-training will have to work hard to develop the proper skills.
5) An inclination to delegate
Great leaders – while possessing many skill-sets – know that they cannot do everything by themselves. As such, knowing when to focus and when to ask for help is a primary attribute of successful leaders.
Without assistance, many projects or tasks can become lost in translation. While one person may believe their idea is best, further review and a few extra sets of eyes may discover that the course isn’t ideal. Likewise, bigger projects simply cannot be juggled by one person alone.
Real leaders recognize that assistance is vital. While managing workers who are delegated various tasks is another subject itself, knowing when – and to whom – tasks should be delegated is crucial to long-term success in any leadership role.
Let’s be honest: nobody who has worked in an office or professional setting looks up to people who cannot relate to them. Because of this, another vital component of being an effective leader is being able to relate and empathise with your workers.
Whether you are a leader in a volunteer capacity or working for a Fortune 500 company, people have to feel a bond to you in order to respect you. When you are able to show your subordinates that you understand what they’re going through, you’ll build closer connections with them. The end result is a better relationship that produces more communication, transparency and efficiency.
7) A responsible attitude
Pretty much every great leader learns in leadership training that the buck stops with them. Being able to take ownership of success – and problems – is a crucial component of maturing and bettering oneself. In the world of leadership, people need to know that their efforts will be respected, validated and evaluated properly.
Leaders who attempt to scapegoat a company’s problems onto the workforce fail to recognize the effects this can have on morale and performance. The best leaders understand that while it is essential to delegate and trust others, it is also imperative that they do everything they can to explain, encourage and otherwise motivate workers to achieve the best results.
Leadership, by definition, means guiding yourself and a team of others in a particular direction. Nobody can effectively become a leader without a vision for what they want their team or company to accomplish. Whether it is in the realm of business, charity or politics, having a vision determines the long-term success of any leader.
It can be difficult at times to maintain a proverbial compass – challenges and obstacles pop up all the time – but those who keep true to their north stars can deliver amazing results and earn the respect of those around them.
Last but definitely not least, the integrity that leaders bring to their occupations and positions can make or break entire enterprises. For somebody to truly trust and respect a leader, they must first believe that the leader is leading with all of the right reasons in mind.
All too often, we learn of various leaders who have misused or abused their positions of power, exploiting workers or even stealing from the companies where they work. This behavior – or even the impression of it – can completely derail a prospective leader’s potential in the eyes of their followers.
As such, it is crucial that you avoid the appearance of impropriety and operate with transparency and ethical behavior in mind.
Are you best leader you can be?
Building an effective career in leadership can be done in a variety of ways. Natural leaders are few and far between; most people must learn to master a variety of skills and develop various character attributes before they can be successful. For those wanting to become leaders, focusing on a combination of leadership training and personal improvement can yield major results.
Whether it is honesty and transparency, vision and focus, or empathy and responsibility, all of these attributes can be perfected over time. With these nine attributes in mind, you can begin the process of improving and perfecting both your technical knowledge and your personal attributes in pursuit of leadership.
Photo by Tyler Nix