Written by: Cally Worden
Leadership comes in many forms, in and outside of the workplace. At work you may have staff reporting to you, or you may be self-employed and have employees of your own. Perhaps you run a fitness class or a Brownie pack, or you are a teacher managing a class full of children. Whatever your role as leader, here are ten attributes of a good leader.
Always the best policy they say, and where leadership is concerned this is certainly true. As a leader you are a role model. Your team will reflect your values and your ethics, so setting a good example is essential. Being honest isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to delivering tough messages to the troops, but ultimately they will respect you for it.
Don’t Hesitate to Delegate
A good leader knows that they simply cannot do everything, and nor should they. There is more than one way of doing something, and embracing and encouraging the skills and abilities of others is good leadership in action. Leading is as much about showing others the way, and then trusting them to follow it in their own unique style. This will foster trust, develop the skills of your team, and strengthen your their spirit.
Being able to effectively share your thoughts and objectives with others is an essential attribute of a good leader. All the brilliant ideas in the world will fall flat if you fail to communicate them clearly. Likewise, communication is key to ensuring everyone is happy. Good leaders need to engender a sense of openness to ensure that any issues within their teams are aired in a grown-up way, and any resentments are prevented from festering into problems.
Having a good sense of humour includes not taking yourself too seriously. Life isn’t all about work, or getting things done perfectly. A good leader is able to step back from unexpected difficulties sometimes, take a “S*** Happens” attitude, and see the funny side. It’s a way of taking control of a situation again. How you respond to challenges as a leader will affect how your team responds too. If you keep your morale high, despite setbacks, then your team are likely to view their own challenges in the same way. Having a joke and a laugh with team members from time to time is one way decent leaders remove stress from the workplace, and improve productivity.
This is when leading by example really comes into its own. Effective leaders rarely ask their teams to do anything they wouldn’t do themselves if the need arose, and often demonstrate such commitment by joining staff in mundane and time-critical tasks. It is important also to honour any commitments made to staff, such as a special company outing, or team party.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Remaining confident when things are falling apart around you is the hallmark of a good leader. To inspire your team it is vital to exude confidence in your aims and objectives. After all, if you don’t give off the sense that you believe your goals are achievable, why would members of your team think it?
Positive Mental Attitude
Motivation and energy comes from belief. Not hope, that’s something different, and smacks of desperation. Positive thinking is the good leader’s best friend, and an injection of happy thoughts into the team environment can work wonders to boost productivity, morale and self-belief.¬† Even something as simple as buying cream cakes for your team can go a long way to improving their mood, and their output will improve as a result too.
Things don’t always go to plan no matter how well you prepare. It is at these times that a good leader stands out in their ability to think outside of the box and come up with creative solutions. Top leaders will listen to advice from all quarters, and value input from even the most inexperienced of colleagues. A little creative thought can go a long way.
When the path forward is unclear, there may nothing for it but to rely on your subconscious intuition. Following your gut instinct can feel like a risky approach, but in the absence of any other choice, it is usually the best route to take. Your intuition works on the knowledge that it has, and can often lead you to solutions that your conscious, analytical mind has missed. Good leaders trust themselves as well as their team.
Inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of sources, and it is the job of a good leader to seize those positive vibes and use them to inspire the team. Appreciating the work of your team, recognising when they need a break and, just as importantly ensuring that they feel like they have an investment in the success of your venture, are all good ways for leaders to inspire their teams. Incentives are a great way to inspire people to go that extra mile, and effective leaders have a sixth sense for identifying what’s important to others, and what may inspire them.