“Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.”
-John C. Maxwell
I’ve been reading a lot lately about leadership and the qualities that make a good leader.
Over and over, there are five key leadership traits that seem to factor into nearly every person identified as a good leader.
Honesty. When the buck stops with you, it’s up to you to be truthful in your dealings.
The people who report to you are looking to you to set the example of how to conduct themselves. Your honesty and sincerity in your dealings will go a long way to set the tone for your team.
Ability to Delegate. Good leaders hire good people. They also trust in those people to carry out their tasks in a thorough, responsible manner. If you’ve done a good job putting the right people in the right positions, you should feel comfortable assigning tasks to those people. By allowing your employees to complete the tasks you’ve assigned builds trust, respect and increases productivity.
Good Communication Skills. If your employees can’t communicate with you, they can’t trust you. Nor can they accurately and responsibly do the job you’ve hired them to do. An approachable, open-door policy is a good one to practice with your employees. They will respect you and your time more if they know that when they really do need your input, you are available for them. Also, clear, concise, consistent communication fosters productivity and reduces misinterpretation of expectations.
Ability to Inspire Dedication and Creativity in Others. A good leader knows that their ability to recognize the investment of their team is vital. People spend a great deal of time at work, keeping them enthused about that work helps everyone when things get hard, or hours get long. A clear focus on the vision helps make the mundane tasks worth it. Leaders who take the time to appreciate their employees earn more than respect. They inspire dedication and creativity in their employees.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” -John Quincy Adams
Integrity. This is probably the most important trait (at least in my opinion). Integrity implies a commitment to consistency and “doing the right thing.” I once had a boss who told me to trust my gut when faced with tough decisions at work. Most often, your gut is your sense of right and wrong. Doing the right thing, even when it isn’t the most popular thing (or economical when it comes to business), is the best way to lead. When employees know their leader has integrity, there is trust, respect, commitment, teamwork and productivity. Some of the best teams are led by people of integrity.
“Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position.” -Brian Tracy