The qualities that make a ‘good leader’ have changed a lot over the last few decades. While the old-school autocratic, top down leadership approach to business still exists, it is becoming increasingly less common as businesses embrace newer, better leadership approaches in a changing world.
Four leadership qualities critical to success
So what are some of the most critical leadership qualities today? Put another way, what are the important leadership qualities that we ought to aspire to if we want to change from being good leaders, to great ones?
- A good listener
Exceptional leaders should try to be more facilitative in their approach, if not always, then at least when it matters most.
A facilitative leader is one who knows that good ideas come from all levels of the organisation (not just the top) and know how to extrapolate them. They know that listening to (and actually hearing) these ideas and feedback is critical to making the right decisions for their business.
As a leader, you can prove how good you are at listening to others, by what you do with the information you are given. Exceptional leaders are curious by nature. Not only do they actively seek out feedback and ideas from staff, more importantly they then act on it.
A good listener will make the suggested changes to the process, they will bring the ideas of others to life and will continuously follow through with what they say they will do. All too often, businesses go through the process of collecting feedback from employees but nothing is actually done to change things. Employees are just left feeling frustrated, unheard and undervalued.
- A good motivator
Keeping employees motivated is absolutely crucial for leaders who want a productive team. An exceptional leader works out how their team ticks and how to keep them motivated. Encouraging collaboration and teamwork is vital to keeping people motivated in the workplace.
Likewise showing empathy and kindness is important, particularly as today’s workforce is increasingly at risk or burnout or ‘quiet quitting’.
Keeping your team motivated needs to be tackled on a team level and on an individual level. Making time for one on one catch-ups is important to ensure each person feels heard and gives leaders the chance to check in with each member of the team.
Exceptional leaders do the right thing. This can be tricky, as leaders we are always encouraged to do what’s right for the business. But leaders who have integrity, sometimes have to choose to do the right thing, which is not always the right thing for the bottom line.
Someone who leads with integrity encourages others to do so. A leader who can ‘own’ their mistakes and slip-ups and eloquently communicate these without blame-shifting, encourages others to do so, resulting in a healthier work culture where accountability thrives.
Likewise, leaders who attribute work and success to employees rather than basking in the glory themselves, foster much happier employees who feel valued and motivated. If leadership says that work life balance and employee health is important to them, then show it.
Don’t continue pushing employees to work late and on weekends, give them days off, encourage no calls or meetings past 5pm. Integrity involves doing what you say you’ll do.
- A positive attitude
Enthusiasm is contagious. Being authentically positive and passionate about what you do, what the business does, sets the foundation for passionate and enthusiastic employees.
Problem-solving should be approached with curiosity and respect and the intent to let everyone feel heard and recalibrate everyone so you can move forward in a positive way.
A positive and passionate leader knows that problems that arise can actually lead to innovation and change to allow the business and it’s employees to evolve and thrive. If someone has a genuine problem or concern, a positive and enthusiastic leader meets it with enthusiasm and the intent to solve the problem.
A non-enthusiastic leader leaves phone calls unanswered, avoids confrontation, responds in a cold and formal way or dismisses the concern entirely; leaving employees feeling dissatisfied. A positive leader breeds positivity; a crucial ingredient in today’s business world.
It could be argued that leaders who don’t embrace these four qualities simply won’t be living up to their full leadership potential. Neglecting any one of these traits will be leaving you falling short of being the leader you were always meant to be.
I love coaching leaders on how to be the best versions for themselves. Could your leadership team do with one of my tailored workshops? I’ll share my experience and fool-proof leadership techniques with you. Don’t hesitate to get in touch today.