Successful leaders are the engines behind their companies or organizations. They drive change, inspire and motivate staff, and provide a vision for the future.
Leaders are so much more than a manager or a boss. They provide the glue that keeps the company together and the oil that keeps the engine going. While we see certain skills as innate, most leadership skills are developed over time using trial and error.
What does it mean to be an effective leader? After studying effective leaders, we have created a list of 9 traits and skills that leaders should have.
Great leaders have a vision of where they are and where they want to go. They use this vision to help create a community of believers in the cause. This vision helps the company keep its eye on the future and keeps the company moving forward.
Effective leaders can manage change and pivot as necessary because of their forward-thinking and their vision.
Communicate the Vision
Vision is so important. But without the ability to clearly and passionately communicate this vision, a leader will not be effective. The right vision and right communication will help motivate and inspire the team and encourage others to do the same.
We look to the leader to establish the acceptable behaviors and actions of the organization and have a high degree of respect for others. Leaders with clear right and wrong barometers help the entire organization stay on the right path. People want to be led by someone with integrity and a strong sense of right. People want to see leaders practice what they preach and lead by example.
Leaders need to be focused on the end goal. Effective leaders set clear goals and take action with purpose. Leaders need to be moving the organization and the team towards the end goal daily. Leaders that focus on the goal worry less about who is to blame and focus more on the solution.
Drive for Excellence
As a leader, you must constantly be learning and improving. The drive for excellence needs to be shown personally as well as pushing the team or organization to excellence. We respect leaders that have the knowledge and skills to be successful.
Leaders must be problem solvers who can make decisions in a changing environment. Leading today requires making tough and fast decisions and being able to pivot without much information.
Empower and Develop Others
We want a leader that has the skillset to perform tasks. But we need a leader that has the ability to empower his or her team members and staff. Great leaders challenge staff with high expectations and help them execute.
As we empower others to make changes, we also want to help them become better. Effective leaders are willing to take risks and allow employees to make mistakes. This allows employees to learn and build their skills. It also encourages employees to get creative and be innovative in their problem-solving. We do this through constructive feedback and putting them, at times, in stretch roles. Developing your people is one of the best ways to keep the best talent and to stack your leadership bench!
For people to stretch themselves and better themselves, they need to know they are valued. Great leaders empower, develop and recognize the team and the team’s work. Recognition helps your team stay motivated and pushes them to do more. When we empower others and recognize them, we move the organization toward the end goals.
Effective leaders are great communicators, great listeners, exude confidence, and are humble. Leaders must lead people, and to do so requires listening and communication skills. Because leaders must make hard decisions, they need to be able to be confident in the decisions they make but humble and open enough to listen to others.