We believe anyone who makes a conscious decision to be a leader can step into the role. In fact, we’ve seen it happen many times over inside our business and out. And to be brutally honest, not all leaders are good ones (yep, I said it) but the ones who are, have these things in common…
Common Traits of Good Leaders
Heightened Communication Skills
You know it and I know it. Good leaders are communication masters. Not only are they articulate, calm and good listeners, but they also communicate regularly and often to the people they lead. Have you ever known or worked for a leader who kept to themselves each day and neglected the opportunity to engage with others? Sure, you have… Don’t be a leader who keeps the door closed to steer people away from your office. Instead, be an inviting leader that is always eager to engage with and guide the people they lead.
Before one can be a good leader, they must first get to know themselves. This seems counter intuitive for the role of a leader because as the name suggests, leadership is all about others, right? Yes, and leadership is also about leading yourself to be better every day. We talk about and highlight ways to improve self-knowledge and leadership skills on the Self Smarter Podcast! In fact, check out episode #53 Common Traits of Successful Leaders if you’re interested in hearing more.
Humble leaders are the kind of people who give credit where credit is due. They also accept credit with genuine gratitude when it is given to them. Sometimes overly humble leaders have an “awe shucks” attitude, and this is not what we recommend. Instead, we recommend that leaders find a healthy balance between the two types of humble behaviors to find that sweet spot where they are welcoming ideas and navigating business scenarios with grace and understanding with the intent to achieve business goals.
I realized years ago that one of my leadership opportunities was in my ability (or lack thereof) to make decisions. The truth is, making decisions made me extremely nervous at times. I felt as though the weight of the world was on my shoulders and I wasn’t able to easily navigate decision-making as a result. This is something I knew I needed to change, and it did! I have a leader that allowed me to make poor decisions and learn from them. After trial and error I learned that my decisions could be altered or tweaked to accommodate changes in the business climate I had been managing. Now in this season of my life, making decisions is an hourly job. I make them all day and am comfortable doing so because I trust myself and the process.
Gift of Discernment
This is hard because not everyone’s natural gift is having an objective view that can lead a group to a positive end result. But good leaders have this POV… In fact, good leaders can see trouble before it arrives on their doorstep. They have the foresight to predict outcomes based on experience or gut and like a weather radar, can lead a team to safe passage through various roadblocks and business scenarios. Since not all leaders naturally possess the gift of discernment, we recommend that these leaders have someone close to them on the team who does possess this gift to help them to keep things on track.
Gives and Earns Trust
Trust is one of the more difficult aspects of leadership because it is so hard to obtain and oftentimes is also hard to give for many. No matter what, maybe the most important trait of a good leader is having the ability to give and receive trust. If you give it, the likelihood of receiving it in return is higher. On the other hand, if you have a tendency not to trust people or yourself, you may find it difficult to receive the trust you desire as a leader. In my experience as a leader, I think about trust a lot. I see the trust that our team has in me via different proof points like listening to me, acting on requests or suggestions I make, improving their performance after a coaching session, and so on. Trust is received in results and behaviors that tell you oftentimes very plainly if you’re trusted or not.
I could write a list of 100 different traits of good leaders. But what I know for sure is, if you’re reading this, you’re likely headed to a good place. And if you take my advice and practice all that I’ve presented to you in this blog post, you’ll be on your way! Tune into the Self Smarter Podcast for more tips like this and insights from my journey as a leader seeking to be better every day.