We all know about leaders and the work they do. Be it politics, business, technology, science, sports, culture or anything else, leaders are, quite simply, the engines that run their trains to different destinations. And to travel long distances to these destinations successfully and safely, the engine needs to be manned properly and fuelled by the right kind of energy.
Some experts believe that leaders are simply born. Leaders are made, too, say others. The fact is, truth lies somewhere in between. Most credibly, it’s a combination of circumstances and persistence in most cases. Some great leaders you meet aren’t even aware of their leadership qualities. In fact, they may not have even a formal leadership title bestowed on them, even then they exercise decisive influence and come to call the shots.
But it’s not easy being the engine – it needs to be powerful enough, decide the path and stock up on the right kind of resources to travel the distance, have the right kind of people aboard and ensure it stays on track to reach its destination safely and in time.
So what is it that you really need to become a successful, great leader? If you have a majority of the characteristics below, it indicates your potential to become a great leader. Also remember that working on yourself is only half the battle won and over time, your team gets a more significant role to play in your subsequent success.
Qualities of Effective Leaders
Read on to find if you make the grade:
You walk your talk
You walk your talk and your words aren’t just lip service. Rather, you really “live” them. Obviously, it fosters credibility among the team members, who align with the tone you set.
Instead of using persuasion, argument or force, creating an example is the most powerful form of leadership. Social modelling, psychologists tell us, has an extremely powerful impact on bringing about all kinds of behavioural changes, good or bad among babies and kids. This tendency continues well into adulthood and people always come to notice who’s doing what in an organization. And when that person is you, your team members naturally tend to follow you and you become a leader.
You can take effective decisions
There never ever was any indecisive leader in human history. Being a decisive one, you use good judgment in the face of challenges and take a decision in time with confidence. And while doing so, you use logic and your problem solving abilities.
You constantly try to achieve multiple goals in personal life and professional life, be it implementing a new quality control system or improving your fitness. And your confidence grows with every goal you achieve.
You are confident and passionate and move ahead with assurance, being passionate about your beliefs and refusing to let anything stop you. Working consistently towards a cause with vision and confidence makes you a leader. Your confidence makes the workplace a positive environment by bringing infectious energy to the workplace. Contrarily, workplace vampires blame others for making them feel the way they do instead of taking personal responsibility.
You are gifted with charisma
You have a surge of infectious, positive energy flowing through you that gets others excited to get on board. You approach various issues enthusiastically and that reflects a genuine desire on your part in life. You’re the proverbial nice guy/gal gifted with the qualities of head and heart- courage, honesty, morality and righteousness and your displaying these qualities tells others about your good intentions, who reciprocate it with respect.
You inspire others towards change
You know very well the difference between dictating and leading others. Dictating is pressuring your team members into working towards goals but when you lead, you inspire them to put in their best in the direction of goal achievement. As a good leader, you inspire your team to become their own best versions. And when you are always looking to grow your people, their pride is reflected in the kind of work they do and the quality they deliver.
You view your team’s victory as yours as you are happy to see your team thrive by providing them the required support and guidance.
You can empower others
You are ready to make sacrifices for the resources your teams needs for success. You don’t believe in micro-managing others. Rather, you believe in delegating tasks to make others responsible. You are a big support in providing your team with a conducive environment for independent working.
You know that your power doesn’t imply controlling others at all. Your power is your strength and giving it to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to strengthen him; rather, a leader is a person willing to strengthen others.
You can communicate well
You set clear expectations and goals and can get everyone behind them. Good communication implies conveying effectively the short-term and long-term vision for the organization, which gets people excited to work.
You can also read our blog on Communication Skills for Workplace Success
This most essential tool in your leadership armour enables you to persuade others readily, be it getting someone on board with an idea or convincing another one of your argument, you are known for your ability to convince others.
You evoke loyalty and authenticity
You believe in “living” the principles you expect your team members to follow. Thus, they are much more inclined to follow you. Besides, you inspire others to do good work and can motivate your team about a particular project.
You show determination to achieve your goals. While fully acknowledging that it isn’t always possible, you make every possible effort to achieve your goal before you concede defeat.
Your positive attitude makes people around you happy. This kind of outlook doesn’t make you blind to problems. Rather, it lets you find some good in every situation and know that eventually things will turn out to be alright. This kind of spirit keeps people motivated and spreads hope and ensures that you are considered a leader.
You inspire trust
Great leaders teach, motivate, and share their expertise with others, who often regard them as a fountainhead of knowledge. They rely on your advice, and you’re more than happy to help them get ahead. You articulate a wider vision that resonates with others so as to ensure good performance, loyalty or other positive outcomes. You can rally your team around yourself in uncertainty or tumult to keep the business intact.
People count on you and trust you to follow through and realize your promises. If you can hold yourself accountable and demonstrate total responsibility that leads others to trust you, you are a leader.
You are a rule-breaker
True leadership consists in finding new, unproven solutions to achieve a better tomorrow. Leadership implies progress and evolution, for which the status quo needs to be challenged. As a good leader, you can think and work outside the box.
You approach a problem using your own original thought as you’re an idea person, a visionary. You try to innovate by challenging the status quo.
Your feedback makes a difference
You are well-aware that negative feedback can be counterproductive if not communicated properly. You have a handle on how and when to deliver both positive and negative (or constructive) feedback to improve individual and organizational results, not to run others down or hurt others’ feelings or egos.
You constantly seek self-improvement
It’s a lifelong mission with you to always keep on improving yourself in all ways possible. Knowing your own imperfections, you let others know that you’re constantly working to become your best version. You are ready to take the blame whenever you are responsible for any negative outcomes and do not pass the buck on to others.
You’re in auto-discipline mode
You are gifted with self-control and self-restraint and you don’t let emotions enter the process of decision making. Desires or negative thoughts cannot carry you away. You don’t yield to temptations easily because you know doing so is integral to success.
You don’t need others for supervision or validation of your efforts. You criticize yourself before others do. You don’t frequently look to others to get you where you want to go.
You have a plan, always
You are the go-to man (or woman!) for all in times of need. You can make effective strategies and embrace challenges as you are confident of overcoming them with your problem-solving abilities.
Your plans are informed by a real-life perspective and are grounded in pragmatic considerations.
You invest in people
You know your biggest assets too well – your people. Obviously you nurture, groom and take care of them. Besides, you also know how to grow them and make their well-being a top priority. Given this, you understand the importance of constantly upgrading the skills and knowledge of your team to enhance their intellectual capital.
You spend time supporting, guiding and sharing your knowledge with others and give them the opportunity for success. If you do everything possible to help them attain success, you’re a leader.
You insist on excellence. When you do that, you tell others to act rather than talk, show rather than say and deliver rather than promise. If you do not make excuses but hold up excellence and quality, you are a leader.
You can also watch our video on Improve Your Leadership Skills
You have an open mind
You are game for absorbing others’ perspectives to evaluate a scenario and make sound decisions based on different inputs. Others feel comfortable presenting their ideas to you as they know you have an open mind and are receptive to differing viewpoints.
You handle criticism well and thrive on others’ feedback. Whether you act on that feedback or not is an uncertain question, but you welcome it and are ready to consider it as genuine and valid.
You’re a good listener. Thus, people love to confide in you. This indicates not only a strong leadership but also that you’re a nice guy/ gal. If listening is more important than speaking to you and if people can confide in you, you are a leader.
You display compassion
You do not consider your own needs to be more important than others’. You show a genuine sense of empathy whenever a team member faces a troublesome personal event. You listen well and are eager to help them with all that you can.
You are ready to admit your fallacies and mistakes and learn from them.
You respect people and it earns you respect in return. If you look for the good in everyone and respect them, they will hold you in high esteem and you’ll be a leader.
You offer advice and counsel. You have a good sense of empathy and your perspective is useful to those around you. If you often help others navigate their work and life, you are a leader.
You can read others’ minds
You’re gifted with good emotional intelligence. You can see if others are lying to you or are trying to mislead you. You can read people’s emotions and you try to learn about how those around you work, and comprehend people’s tendencies and behaviours.
You are a peace-maker amid chaos
Yours is a calming and pacifying presence that reassures your team and others amid difficulties. You display calm even amid chaotic times to reassure your team and keep it on track in spite of the goings-on.