What makes a good leader? Certain traits and skills stand out
Everyone has their ideas of what constitutess a good leader. Whole books are written on this topic. An earlier blog column offered some suggestions on how to be a good manager. Here are five more tips to help you become a good leader.
1. Stay sharp. Professional development includes courses and workshops on the intricacies of managing. Workplace dynamics have changed. More workers are demanding flex time shifts, telecommuting options, and so forth. Those changes can affect employee relationships and morale. Your leadership techniques must adapt to these changes. Personalized coaching sessions may be of value, too.
2. Be firm. The overarching goal is to ensure the strength and vitality of the organization. Some employees or teammates may feel their way is better. Explain why a particular course of action is necessary, and make your decision. When possible, use suggestions from staff. They feel more like a part of the process. But in the end, it’s your organization. Stand firm on policies and procedures.
3. Act quickly. One really good trait of a leader is someone who decides and acts quickly. Of course, you try to ensure it is the right decision; everyone hates to make mistakes. Don’t get caught up in paralysis by analysis. Make a decision, and move on.
4. Set expectations, and help others achieve them. Continue to stretch your team by setting new goals. Help them grow through new responsibilities and training. Encourage your staff to attend seminars, buy books and CDs, and other materials. Their professional development, which is just as important as yours, is an ongoing process. That process is enhanced with the proper guidance from you, their leader.
5. Bury the ego. Ditto for any dictitorial attitude. Nobody likes to see either. One of the qualities of a leader is someone who relishes helping others succeed. Competition? For what, your job? More likely, the person will move on to greener pastures. Like a pro sports coach, you can bask in the glory of having groomed a successful businessperson.
You won’t accomplish anything by being a task master. At some point people start to leave. Learn how to properly offer instructions, mete out discipline and otherwise run your organization.
Leadership requires the right balance of skills and traits. Persuasion, discipline, compassion, humility, confidence–even a good sense of humor–combine to define what makes a good leader.
For related reading, see “Stay in touch with teammates to keep them on your team” and “How to be an MLM leader.”
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