Whether one believes leadership skills to be an innate personal quality or an acquired ability, there are a variety of leadership styles, spanning from autocratic to democratic, laissez-faire to transformational, that vary in performance and success depending on the context in which they are employed.
The traits of a leader that define their capability come down to a handful of leadership principles that can be summarized as:
Top leaders know their industry like the back of their hands. They understand the overall landscape and the little details, the history, and the current trends.
They are active in the community surrounding their industry and may even be a force in shaping its parameters and direction.
Not only this, a savvy leader engages with the market in order to keep up to date with consumers’ wants and needs. Public spaces that foster consumer feedback and engagement, such as online review sites and forums, provide a level of insight that leaders will make use of to shape the focus and aims of their team.
Support and encouragement
Great leaders understand that people are different. Each individual has their own drives, goals, and quirks, and won’t necessarily seek out the same things in life.
A good leader takes the time to bond with people, to grasp what makes them tick, what they want, what they need, and crucially, how to keep employees motivated.
As the work environment undergoes continuous change, strong leaders will recognize that the desires and needs of their team members are no different.
Having a clear and compelling vision
Speaking clearly and concisely to communicate effectively in a way that is engaging yet accessible to everybody is pivotal in leadership.
A leader’s role is to energize, paint a clear picture of the team goals, and provide a compelling motivational drive to succeed.
A compelling vision will vividly illustrate where the organization is heading, why, and how it will achieve its goals.
Insight into what makes a good team
Team performance hinges on the individual strengths of the team and, most importantly, the leader that recognizes these strengths and knows how best to utilize them. Without strong leadership, not even the most talented or gifted individuals will be able to truly contribute their worth.
A good leader will assist their team in being able to assess their strengths and weaknesses. Setting personal goals and development plans are small steps that make team members aware of their whole workflow process, which results in contributing to work at the very best, and considerable performance as a team.
Mindfulness and compassion
A strong leader is considerate and approachable, and understands that tact and thoughtfulness are key to connecting with colleagues.
Mindfulness, selflessness, and compassion are leadership qualities that foster a humanistic approach to workplace interrelations, from top management to customer service, and emphasize a positive and influential rather than coercive approach.
A fundamental of positive workplace relationships is being adept at understanding and managing one’s own emotions, as well as those of others.
Emotional intelligence is defined by a deep understanding of how your emotions influence your own actions as well as your dealings with others.
Self-awareness, motivation, compassion, empathy, management of emotions, and people skills make leaders that can effectively deal with stressful situations, connect with their employees, and maximize the output of their team.
Strong leaders take full responsibility and will never look for a scapegoat. When mistakes are made, they are acknowledged, accepted, and utilized as a learning experience.
Such an attitude comes from confidence and can influence the approach of an entire organization for the better.
Knowing when to delegate
Understanding the dynamics of the team, a good leader is also confident enough to delegate their workload when it is correct to do so. Hand in hand with an in-depth understanding of employees’ strengths and talents, leadership in management is knowing whom best to ascribe certain tasks and responsibilities.
The ability to delegate predetermines leadership potential. The power of a leader increases with every task as they aspire their teammates to be involved, at the same time increasing the presence of a leader in every process they contribute to.
The crucial thing is to understand the line between the levels of involvement. Team members should be able to perform their tasks successfully for some time regardless of the leader’s presence.
Adaptation and innovation
Now, change and the readiness to adapt are essential. Plans, timeframes, and even goals can be fluid and shift at any time. To be effective, a leader needs to maintain readiness and diversity of thought and action in order to seize each and every opportunity that presents itself and seek out those that don’t.
Adaptability and a certain prescience or keen eye are leadership development qualities that overcome the lag of complacency and keep a team looking forward and thinking several steps ahead, rather than falling into a sedentary routine.
Developing ability through overcoming challenges
The trials that a leader faces and how they are dealt with contributing to the experience and toolkit that they have in place to tackle future challenges. From this perspective, every obstacle serves as an opportunity for growth, a chance to refine existing skills and push beyond the comfort zone to acquire new ones.
Fluidity, evolution, and adaptation are drivers that keep a company competitive. Growth and continuous success simply don’t come about without reflection and change.
Yet, structural rigidity and resistance to change are common. An effective leader will understand this and develop the skills not simply to sell the idea of change, but to bring people on board with the change, feel part of it, and ultimately support and get behind it.
Every day brings new challenges, and how these challenges are faced up to and overcome is what separates a great leader from a mediocre one.