What exactly does it take to be a good leader? Is it a quality you are born with or qualities and skills learned along the way? Actually, the qualities of a good leader are both inherent and learned. Some people just have that winning personality that people like to follow and others need a bit of polishing up before moving on to other qualities that are the sign of being a great leader. Whether you are a company administrator or have newly risen to a position of leadership, it is essential to understand just what the qualities of a good leader are and how you can achieve those you don’t already have.
1. Leaders Must Be Approachable
What does it mean to be “approachable”? While you can’t always be available at all hours of the day, the one quality you should develop is to have an approachable personality. If you always act as though you are being bothered when an employee or team member approaches you with a question or some issue they are facing, this doesn’t bode well for developing any amount of trust. Being approachable means having great communication skills so that you can easily identify what it is that person needs and how to address the issue even if you don’t have the time at the moment.
You might want to say something to the effect of, “I see how important this is but I’m on my way to a meeting. Can we talk more this afternoon?” This works so much better than simply ignoring them or blowing them off with a response like “Talk to your team leader,” or some other person so that you don’t have to deal with it. A good leader always finds time to communicate with their staff or at least find a suitable alternative so that their concerns are dealt with.
2. Recognize Your Shortcomings
If there is one thing which many leaders are afraid to face it would be that they are not perfect. They don’t always have all the answers. In fact, no one expects perfection. However, if you find that your shortcomings are hindering your ability to be a good leader, it’s imperative to recognize those issues so that you can learn to overcome them. Leadership training is one way to identify and overcome issues preventing you from being an effective leader.
It is especially difficult for new leaders to assume the role of leader because they are laboring under the impression that perfection is expected fresh out of the gate. Since this is a common perception among new leaders, there are leadership courses that are geared towards emerging leaders. Sites like findcourses.com have a myriad of leadership training courses such as the “Emerging Leader Development Program” designed specifically to address this and other issues new leaders often face. In other words, don’t fear your perceived shortcomings but rather learn how to overcome them. A good leader is always ready to learn!
3. Competence as a Manager
Back in 1969 Laurence J. Peter wrote extensively on corporate hierarchies and a common practice whereby promotions were granted based on performance within certain jobs. Eventually those people were promoted to such a point that they were given leadership duties but were unprepared to be a leader. They had risen on the corporate ladder beyond their level of competence. They were great at the jobs they were given but weren’t leadership material. This became known as the Peter Principle.
Fortunately, this has since been addressed in leadership training courses so that managers and team leaders can be trained in leadership skills required of their current careers. Here again, it is recognized that few leaders are born with the traits and skills they need to be effective. Some have personalities that make them natural-born leaders but in terms of specific jobs and roles within a company, a significant amount of training and experience is essential to obtain competence as a manager.
4. Ability and Willingness to Empower Others
Some leaders simply take too much upon themselves and as a result, nothing seems to get done – or done well! There is only so much one person can do and while you may know the task better or have more experience, it doesn’t mean it can’t be trusted to someone else! Not only will you be unable to do everything yourself, but this will quickly lead to burnout.
A good leader knows how and when to empower others. Not only will this personally benefit you, as the leader, but it will benefit your company and that staff member as well. As a side benefit, empowering others to learn and do new tasks better helps you to assess whether they are ready to become leaders themselves. Their willingness and ability to handle new duties is a sure sign that they might be a good match for a leadership role in the future.
5. Loyalty and Dedication
There is nothing worse in a team leader or company manager than a person who isn’t loyal and dedicated to their employer. A good leader is loyal to the people/corporation they work for and is dedicated to doing the best job possible at all times. A good leader doesn’t go around making negative comments about their personal bosses or the company for which they work.
In addition, a good leader is also loyal and dedicated to the people who work under them. A good leader will speak up in defense of workers who have done a good job but failed due to something outside their control. For example, a production worker was demoted for not getting a job done timely. However, the materials didn’t come in on time as expected so there was no way to move forward. A good team leader would speak up for that worker so that they weren’t unjustly penalized for something beyond their control.
Loyalty and dedication are essential in a leader and the surest way to gain the respect of those in your charge is to exhibit these traits at all times and in all situations.
Finally, if you are given a leadership role the one thing you must be is willing to grow both as a person and in the jobs that you are tasked with doing. Leaders may have inherent personality traits that make them natural as leaders, but they are trained in their respective fields. Some people do have a personality that compels others to follow them, but unless they are trained in what it means to carry the weight of leadership, they are likely to fail.
Leadership training will take those positive qualities leaders already possess and augment them with other qualities they may be lacking or that need polishing. You have heard the cliché, “They are a born leader,” but that isn’t exactly true. Some people have personalities that make them ideal candidates for leadership training, but that doesn’t make them a leader.
A true leader understands what it means to be a good leader and will take the time and effort to learn how to lead effectively. A good leader isn’t born good at leadership but will take their strengths and nourish them through leadership training. That is what it means to be a good leader.