Every successful organization requires effective leaders and managers. In rare instances, an individual can serve as both a leader and a manager. However, each role requires unique traits and skill sets. When you understand the traits of a good leader, you can implement a plan to develop employees to fill this role.
Traits of a Good Leader
Whether a leader is working in a company, leading a military unit or ruling a nation, they must be able to inspire the people who look up to them. Leaders often set goals and a strategy for how to achieve them. For example, launching a new product is a complex process that will involve multiple people working together to overcome obstacles. A good leader can show they believe in the group’s ability to overcome those difficulties. They demonstrate their optimism by working alongside team members and suggesting ways to remove obstacles. What tools do they use to accomplish their task? Let’s take a look.
Among the qualities of a good leader is the ability to be self-aware. This aspect means understanding which strengths you naturally possess, such as the talent of empathizing with another team member. Self-awareness also means accepting that you may not be as good at a task, such as coding, as someone else on the team.
Self-awareness goes along with the right mindset, one that allows leaders to reveal their weaknesses. Through example, they can demonstrate that they are assigning a task they might like to do, but aren’t great at, to someone else on the team. This strategy shows that the leader believes the team’s goal is more important than their own personal ego.
Some leaders suffer from a lack of self-awareness. They don’t want to hear that they are motivated by revenge when they try to take down a competitor. But leaders on this path eventually self-destruct. One way to avoid this problem is to study your own psychometric assessment.
It’s never easy to confront weaknesses, especially if you have been under pressure to be perfect as you climb the corporate ladder. But addressing issues such as a bad temper allows you to demonstrate that it’s possible to improve the negative traits that sap your reputation as a leader.
Few people appreciate a leader who consistently tries to complete every task alone and then demands praise from team members for being a hero. One of the key differences between leaders and managers is that managers take on the role of allocating tasks based on team member experience and expertise. Leaders envision the tasks. “Acting like you are the sole person who can fix a problem disregards your team’s abilities," reports Fredric Maddox. More than ever, today’s workers want to be engaged in meaningful work. You can show the qualities of good leadership by delegating and allowing other individuals to shine.
Only 25% of respondents in the State of Organizations, a McKinsey & Company survey, “consider their leadership culture to be one that inspires employees to be the best possible.” Corporate leaders are struggling with their role. One way to improve leadership in your organization is to offer more training, which 34% of surveyed individuals claim is a problem.
The behavior of leaders can be entrenched because decades of bad habits went ignored. In the post-pandemic new normal, leaders may need incentives to change their behavior. Their psychometric assessments will indicate whether a financial or other incentive will be the best motivator to induce a behavioral change.
While good leaders must be able to envision and set strategy, their responsibilities don’t end there. Employees want and need inspiration. They expect to work for a company that has a mission they can believe in. And they also expect their leaders to model the behavior they profess to believe in. The traits of a good leader may vary from one organization to the next, but employees will appreciate leaders who demonstrate self-awareness, who delegate tasks and who are willing to invest in training to improve.
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