Becoming a popular leader is not an overnight achievement. It takes years of experience to win the confidence of people and make yourself heard. Look at any of the famous leaders of our time and you will find these 7 qualities in them.
A leader with a vision is one worth following. A good leader is someone who rises above the petty squabbles and tries to see the bigger picture. The first step to success is setting achievable goals.
A visionary is the right blend of idealism and practicality. They have a plan of action before they begin any task. This makes your end-goal achievable, boosting the overall morale of the entire team.
Be clear in what you want and why it is essential for you to achieve goals. Learn to prioritize your desires. Everyone has their own definition of success. For some people, it is financial stability, for others- fame.
However, a good leader ensures the collective good of the team. They plan a vision wherein everyone gets to make a contribution and reap the benefits of their work. A visionary is capable of rising above the mundane.
Source: HBR Case study - When Two Leaders on the Senior Team Hate Each Other
A leader doesn’t always get to play safe. There will be times when you have to take big risks to get what you want. A good leader is not a daredevil. No, they have the prudence to weigh the pros and cons of every choice they make
According to leadership academic experts, a good leader is self-aware. They are critical of their flaws and actively work towards rectifying them. Being courageous doesn’t mean you throw caution to the wind and take bold decisions. A good leader tries to get a holistic view of the situation. They would take in all the possible perspectives before taking a risk
However, once the decision is made, a good leader would stick to it no matter what. Bravery comes with a degree of stubbornness. And in most cases, the risk pays off, producing tremendous results!
3. Focus and determination
A good leader always stays focussed on the end goal, irrespective of any distraction that may come their way. Their eye is on the outcome of the project, and they deal with all obstacles thrown their way headon.
In a professional environment, this would mean that the team leader’s focus would be on both profit and employee productivity. A good leader never backs down from a challenge. Patience and perseverance are the two fundamental traits that help them find feasible solutions to any problem.
Focus also refers to concentration power and dedication. The more focused you are, the better the results. It also reduces the scope for any errors. This can be a huge motivating factor for your team
How to stay focussed at the workplace?
Here are some ways in which you can stay focused in your office and boost your performance.
- Eliminate distractions- both internal and external. Ensure that your workspace is quiet and peaceful.
- Prioritise work before you start it, this ensures that you get all the important tasks done first.
- Take short breaks if necessary. This makes your mind work faster.
Source: Information sheet - Australian and other Standards
4. Honesty and transparency
A good leader is always honest about their intentions. For them, the greater good or the common good is more important than any personal gain. Leadership is not just about having power, it is also about being accountable for that power
The great saying from Spiderman comes to my mind, “With great power comes great responsibility”. You might be in-charge of a small fundraiser or a multi-million dollar deal for a corporate firm- honesty is mandatory in every situation.
Honesty also comes into play when you are dealing with people. Be open-minded and forthright with people. Treat them how you would want to be treated. Your team would appreciate their leader being forthright with them about the good and bad aspects of the project.
Transparency also ensures that you have the complete support of your team members. As there is no foul play, there is nothing to hide from them. People trust leaders who are brave enough to accept and acknowledge the truth.
5. Emotional strength
Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to handle and recognise emotions. And it is one of the most important traits of any good leader. A good leader is open to criticism and learns how to empathise with the people they’re leading.
Imagine a scenario, where your boss points out your mistakes in a firm but respectful way. He tries to understand your perspective and patiently points out your errors and ways to rectify them. Wouldn't you prefer that over a boss who shouts at you and insults you over a mistake?
A kind word or gesture can make a world of difference. Everyone has their fair share of issues and problems to deal with. And everyone is prone to human errors. A good leader is patient with their team. They have the emotional maturity to handle every situation with a cool head.
It takes a lot of maturity to stay calm and collected in a stressful situation. There will be times when you might feel hopeless, demotivated, and angry. But a good leader doesn’t let his emotions get the best of him
Leaders with a high EQ also have excellent people skills. They are open to criticism, different opinions and can bring people together better. Such leaders are a great source of support for the team, encouraging them to give their best.
6. Self-belief and confidence
Confidence is a vital trait in leaders who want to be seen as reliable and pragmatic. People with high self-confidence are often seen as strong and capable of handling serious undertakings.
However, developing self-confidence is not a one-day job. It is a constant practice, where an individual learns to trust themselves and be comfortable in their own skin. Everything from your body language to your communication skills contribute to your self-image.
Confidence gives you the much-needed strength to make bold decisions. It boosts the morale of the team and gives you the courage to take huge risks to accomplish your goals.
7. Communication skills
A good leader is always a good orator. Language and effective communication is a powerful tool to influence people and get their support. A good leader, therefore, understands the value of words and will use it over brute force or dominance.
A good orator or speaker is not someone who uses rhetorical language and flowery words. No, a good leader is someone who is relatable to their audience. They would prefer to speak in a way that is catchy and yet easy to understand.
Excellent communication and leadership skills are dependent on each other. For instance, a good manager is not someone with only excellent technical skills. The company would instead prefer a candidate who can communicate the company’s ideas with the employees.
How to be a better communicator?
Here are some tips to improve your communication skills:
- Be an active listener to improve your communication.
- Understand how others communicate; it is necessary to analyse your audience.
- Do not get panic if you misspell words or use the wrong sentence.
- Never stumble in front of people, be confident enough to face the audience.
- Have an interactive conversation if you are giving a presentation.
How to inculcate these 7 traits early on?
Everyone wants to lead, but not everyone is capable of being a good leader. Leadership traits are not just limited to the professional or political sphere. We need good, strong leaders in almost every sphere of life.
And it is important for young people to understand and inculcate these traits and become productive citizens of the world. School children and college students, in particular, are influential in shaping our society.
Note that leadership doesn't always apply to the professional sphere. These traits come in handy for your everyday activities as well. For instance, when you’re managing group projects as a leader, you need to allocate the tasks as per the member’s merit
You might be a good leader, but you’re not perfect in every aspect of the project. In some cases, you might need professional proofreading help to get the job done. A good leader doesn’t hesitate from admitting their drawbacks. Instead, they actively work towards finding the solution.
Here are some ways in which leadership traits would shape your personality;
- Boost self-confidence
- Improve communication skills
- Enhance critical thinking
- Quicker problem-solving skills
- Better networking opportunities
- Better academic performance/grades
- Better career prospects
It is the general belief that leadership is essential for personal and professional success. However, not everyone is born to lead. Leading a team or a movement is a huge responsibility. It requires a lot of courage, dedication, belief and self-confidence.
Credits: As an academician by passion, Jane delivers online sessions at Expert Assignment Help (UK), helping students with writing essays and assignments. She is also one of the co-founders and education consultants at Top My Grades. Beyond work, you can find her perfecting her yoga postures.