From Abe Lincoln to Nelson Mandela, history has given rise to many great leaders. Luckily, you don’t have to lead a country through war to be a luminary: having a positive impact on your employees is an endlessly rewarding enterprise in and of itself. So how do you go about blazing a trail in your workplace? Start by making sure that you’ve got the following eight qualities in check, and you’ll be well on your way to being a stand-out leader.
- A visionary outlook
Great leaders are visionaries that inspire others to take action. Having a clear vision for the future is at the core of leadership. It’s the thing driving your whole professional mission and should be the thing driving your employees, too. The key is to share your excitement and passion for the future with your team so that they begin to invest in your vision as much as you. In turn, productivity and enthusiasm levels will go up, and you’ll start to see real collective movement towards your goals.
2. Excellent communication
Experienced leaders know that it’s all too easy for wires to get crossed, whether in a face-to-face conversation or over email. Particularly when you’re attempting to manage and connect to a remote team on top of your in-house office staff, it’s vital to send clear messages which won’t leave people floundering in the Sea of Ambiguity.
3. A humble demeanour
People want to be able to relate to you, to see themselves in you. To gain their trust, you need to contain your ego: acknowledge your mistakes, accept success with humility, and even let out a little goofiness every now and then. Human leaders are always the best kind.
Say you’ve got a team member called Dave. Dave is a shy person by nature, and often finds the hustle and bustle of the office overwhelming. He’d get a lot out of working somewhere more quiet for half the day, but he’s too scared to pose the suggestion to you. Situations like this require leaders to engage their powers of intuition and observation, and to respond with action if matters need addressing. If you respond with a multifaceted approach to management, you’ll be able to bring out the best in each member of your team, giving each person a sense of individual value amidst the fray.
People say that if you have integrity, you’ve nothing to fear or hide since integrity always leads you to do the right thing. In the context of professional leadership, integrity means conducting business with honesty and frankness. Even if it’s tough news to receive, people always appreciate truthfulness over deceit.
6. Great self-organization
Great leaders have scheduling skills like no other. Multi-tasking is part of their personality: flipping from client calls to team briefings, project planning to budget management, they’re just about the most organized people on the planet. We don’t just mean in terms of a packed diary; they’re also skilled at the art of psychological compartmentalization, which is a godsend in stressful environments.
Things go wrong in business; it’s a fact. What matters more than failure, however, is how you pick your team up after it. People who see a glass half full are a lot more fun to follow than those who can’t see the silver lining.
Being a leader means learning how to take responsibility for the kinds of failures mentioned above. Say that a business deal falls through, or that one of your employees doesn’t perform well at a client meeting. As the captain of the proverbial ship, both situations are on your shoulders. Reflect on whether you may have let someone or something fall through the cracks, and get to work mending matters ASAP.