Leadership is a calling. Whether you choose to remain a leader is your choice. Whilst you may impose your leadership on others; it is likely to have repercussions sooner or later – repercussions that could potentially end your career if you’re not careful. We have seen enough examples of self-confessed political and religious leaders who have been ‘dumped’ by their own people. It is these same people who typically tend to nominate their leader. As the selected individual, your responsibilities are numerous and to carry them out, you need certain qualities.
Here are 8 leadership qualities that really count and hence every leader should possess:
Leaders are positive and spread positivity.
Whether the road is smooth or bumpy, as a leader you need to stay positive. Your frustrations can pull down your team’s spirits. On the other hand, your confidence and positive attitude can keep your team motivated and the energy levels up.
It is also important to consider your own personal life. Ups and downs are common for all of us – you are not an exception. You might be going through personal upheavals, however, still try where you can, to maintain a calm and upbeat mood in the workplace. Your attitude will affect your team’s attitude as well.
Leaders see challenges, not problems.
Life is full of challenges. As soon as you overcome one, you’re bound to come across another. Most of us refer to them as ‘problems’ and try to find excuses to avoid them. It’s easier to give up and run away, than to face them head on. A great leader will do the latter.
He/she will see them as milestones and with a never-die attitude, will try to find solutions to achieve them. As a leader, try to find as many opportunities to say, “I can.”
Leaders strive for excellence.
Once at the top, it’s very easy to lose focus and let complacency seep in. But a true leader will identify this slippage and work to bring back their game. They will pick up new challenges and avoid cutting corners.
As a leader keep yourself and your team on their toes and don’t accept average as the benchmark for quality. Aim for your team to be their best and to strive for excellence.
Leaders are humble and grateful.
Every leader should remember this “Leaders are made by people, for people and of people”. People choose leaders; they make them and break them. It’s incredibly important that leaders stay grounded. Acknowledge that you accomplish great work and achieve success because of your team. Stay humble and recognise and appreciate the efforts of those who worked hard for the team’s success. Great leaders believe in and support new ideas and focus on achieving success, not who gets the credit.
Leaders admit failure.
You are a leader, but you are a human first. As a human, it’s not uncommon to make mistakes. But what is important is to admit failure and accept those mistakes. Do not indulge in the blame game. It not only dampens the team’s motivation level, but can also create the perception that you are a petty person. You are the leader, so take ownership and be accountable.
Your team is more likely to appreciate you more because you don’t get beaten down by these mistakes and that you own up to and admit when you make them. It is much easier to move on with your team aligned with and respecting you. Rise after making mistakes and turn failures into a learning experience. Others might just learn from your actions too.
Leaders inspire and drive change.
It is important that you make your team feel a part of your vision and goals. If they feel they are important to you and the organisation, they will be inspired to make your dreams their dreams and will work harder to realise them. Inspire them where you can, especially when morale is low and energy levels are fading. Acknowledge their efforts and appreciate their dedication.
Leaders can drive change in their organisations through their confidence andstrong communication abilities.
Leaders lead by example.
Speeches are only empty words; lead by example. If you expect your team to work hard, you need to show them how hard you yourself can work for the team. Your commitment will motivate them to push harder. It’s also important to stay committed to your promises. If you promise something, make sure you follow through with it.
Leaders are fair and ethical.
You might be called upon to arbitrate between your team members. It’s a tough job, but you need to be able to do it and do it well. As a leader, you must possess the ability to see things as they are, to understand them and then make a rational judgement after taking into account all the facts. You might need to be subjective or objective depending on the circumstances. Your decision might alienate people you are close to but that shouldn’t deter you from being fair, honest, ethical and just.
Although qualities and abilities vary at the individual level, great leaders know how to carry themselves in most contexts. They know how to make decisions in a manner that is in the best interests of the parties involved. A great leader is able to articulate strategic outcomes and enable their teams at the operational level.
What are some of the qualities you see in great leaders? We’d like to hear from you.