Leadership is a daunting task, and there are many theories about how to best lead others. But regardless of the theory employed, there are attributes that great leaders share. With the right blend of attributes, you can thrive within any leadership system. It’s possible to develop these characteristics with study and effort.
Ideas are easy. It’s the execution that’s so challenging. Big ideas require multiple people to bring them to life. Leadership is all about getting everyone on the same page and moving them in the same direction.
Consider developing these qualities that enhance leadership ability:
1. Confidence. Confident people inspire confidence in others. When your team sees your confidence, they believe that you know where you’re going and how to get there. Confidence is contagious and elevates morale. No one else will be confident if you’re not.
• Keep up morale by dealing with setbacks confidently.
2. Trustworthiness. One of the most important attributes of a great leader is character. People need to trust someone before they will follow him. This is accomplished through honesty, walking the talk, and showing respect. Keep your word and follow through.
• It’s challenging for a team to accomplish anything without trust.
3. Enthusiasm. Be enthusiastic about the task at hand, your position, and the opportunity to lead. No one will be more enthusiastic than you are. Demonstrate the type of enthusiasm you’d like to see in your team members. Let everyone know that you believe in your mission and its importance.
• Sometimes a break is in order. Enthusiasm can wane under a never-ending workload.
4. Steadiness. There will be obstacles and times of uncertainty. Great leaders can weather these situations and demonstrate the steadiness necessary to keep the rest of the team focused. These are the times your team will look to you the most. Be positive. Be confident. Be a rock.
• It’s natural to have doubts. It’s not effective to share them. If you need someone to talk to, reach out to your spouse or best friend. Keep all negativity out of the workplace.
5. Focus. It’s easy to become distracted, especially when things start going wrong. Learn to ignore the noise and stick to the relevant facts. Avoid looking too far ahead. Deal with the current situation and maintain your commitment.
• Focus can begin to creep when projects drag on for an extended period of time. Return to your mission statement frequently to keep your focus fresh.
6. Flexibility. Nearly anyone can hold the course, but only a great leader can change course without tipping over the ship. Be open-minded enough to find the elegant solution to the challenges that arise. A few course corrections are the rule rather than the exception.
• Avoid confusing steadfastness with stubbornness. It’s important to realize when it’s time to make some changes.
7. Communication. Be able to effectively communicate your vision to the others in your group. Be willing to listen to new ideas. Provide the information required for others to do their best. Communication skills are paramount to all leaders. If you’re looking for a single skill to enhance, this is a great place to start.
Regardless of the leadership strategy followed in your company, these attributes will serve you well. Great leaders share many of the same attributes. Learning to demonstrate these attributes will enhance your leadership abilities and increase your power and influence at work.
Leadership skills can’t be learned and developed in a day. Bringing an idea into the marketplace requires a leader. Make yourself the obvious.