[January 3, 2020] Leadership is about people. If you are on board with this idea, then you are on your way to achieving good leader qualities. When you begin as a new leader, everything you do and say is an audition for how people see you. Are you a leader that is authentic or are you just faking it?
There are a few defining characteristics of leadership that will help you excel. Philosophers have said that good leadership is the same at all levels. While that is true in much of what we do, there is a difference between junior and senior leadership. For this article, the characteristics discussed here are more about senior leaders.
- Don’t succeed 100% of the time. Be humble. Let those who don’t know you see how you perform when things don’t go well. Failure is an opportunity to begin again. The people who see you or hear about you will gain an appreciation of your handling of difficult tasks regardless of whether you succeed each time or not.
- Ask for help. No one can lead by themselves. Know when to ask for some help. You will gain more respect and credibility by asking for help when you need it. Also, never hide the fact that you got help.1 Own it. You’ll be showing maturity and the ability to be a team player.
- Immediately adopt responsibility. People appreciate the fact that someone jumps in and takes charge; they are also grateful for those who unhesitatingly and bravely put the burden of responsibility on their shoulders. Such a leader will appear strong, fearless, open, and reliable. And, give credit for those on your team.
- Tell the truth, always. No matter how tempting, no matter if you believe someone is not watching, always tell the truth. There is nothing worse than being as someone who shades the truth. So, always be brutally honest. Diplomacy is helpful but it doesn’t make a leader.
- Be a skilled listener. While being a great communicator is imperative for exceptional leadership, your ability to listen is more important. Listening allows you to evaluate the situation and put yourself in the shoes of someone else. It works every time.
- Deliver solutions. Leaders don’t have to be experts in everything, but they do have to possess the ability to get things done. This ability means they are teachers, mentors, and coaches, not “bosses.” A good leader is one who shares their knowledge, remains flexible, tolerant, is knowledgeable, and rallies people to accomplish the mission.
Senior leaders spend time focusing on their ability to influence others. Practicing and perfecting their skills is foremost in their minds. Leadership doesn’t mean sitting; still, it means improving as a leader or failing as a boss. Knowing how to apply these qualities to your job will help you exceed people’s expectations and be a worthy leader.