There are numerous bosses in today’s corporate world, but many lack the qualities of a great leader. Leadership requires an attitude of humility and service while promoting commitment and growth within their teams. What are some challenges that you are facing in the leadership role? Here are five must-have qualities that every exceptional leader should possess:
Humility: A self-assured leader doesn’t require the constant praise and endorsement of others. They are confident in their expertise and abilities and also well aware of their deficiencies. A confident leader will not need to prove they are the smartest people in the room, yet their knowledge and expertise are recognized. How can you show humility as a leader? When situations arise, take a minute to observe your initial reaction. Do you tend to offer constructive feedback, or are you quick to show that you know all the answers? Choose to share criticism that is positive and helpful rather than reacting immediately. Finally, be flexible and unbiased in your opinions so as not to seem overbearing in your response.
Inspiration: Leaders should always seek to motivate their team members. An inspiring leader demonstrates through actions. You can’t expect others to perform their best if you are not displaying passion for the work that you do. Leaders who inspire others while driving positive outcomes within the organization will most likely help others separate themselves from an attitude of mediocrity. How can you inspire others as a leader? Elevate the team’s performance through your example of enthusiasm for your work. Inspire others to work as a team to achieve an outcome that is greater than them. Appreciate your team by praising their accomplishments and sharing guidance on how they can move even higher in realizing their goals.
Curiosity: Great leaders are curious about the work of others. A confident leader displays an eagerness to learn - one who fosters an environment of intelligence that leads to innovation. A leader’s curiosity provides a means for collaboration within the team while building a sense of trust and connection. How can you engage with curiosity? You can begin by welcoming new ideas and thoughts from your team members. Ask questions and learn more about their passions and aspirations. Encourage them to speak without inhibitions or fear of judgment.
Service: Many of those in authority fail to recognize the needs of those who work under them. As a leader, you should put on an attitude of serving others and helping them in reaching their goals - by identifying and placing the needs of others before your own. In doing so, leaders can model an attitude of service which then leads to a mindset that is eager to give rather than receive. How can you encourage an approach of servant leadership? Instill an attitude that looks outward rather than inward. Build relationships through giving and motivating out of generosity towards others - both the team and organization. Lead by example in meeting the needs of others -- building trust and loyalty while encouraging others to do the same.
Persuasion: Many fail as leaders simply because of their offensive use of authority over persuasion. Today’s leaders need to use persuasion to methodically convince those around them through influence and encouragement. The effects of using rank to forcefully coerce others to action are temporary and lack drive. However, using persuasion to inspire those around you to follow your lead will yield the best results, which are long-lasting. How can you use persuasion as a leader? Build a reputation that encourages persuasion rather than intimidation. Suggest rather than dictate. Clear all negativity through encouragement and influence. Share the pros and cons of a given task to sway others to help them see your views. Reduce the gap in authority through persuasion and influence for a greater acceptance within the team.
What other traits would you add to this list? We hope you enjoy our Learning Highlights blog. Please take a minute to leave a comment below. I also want to thank a few authors and organizations for lending their inspiration in helping me write this article including: Ajith Nawalka, Richard Potsada, Murray Newlands and ConantLeadership.