How Many Strengths of Good Leaders Do You Possess?
Leadership is a unique ability to inspire others to participate in a team to accomplish something. The strengths of good leaders are quite distinct from management skills.
Managers optimize things like machines, budgets, assets, etc. People must be treated differently from “things.”
Read on to learn what defines a leader.
7 Qualities Exhibited by Effective Leaders
Here are the most important strengths of good leaders that set them apart from managers. Several of these skills are often called “soft skills.” The tools managers use in handling inanimate business aspects aren’t very effective with people. And similarly, some of these soft skills would be less effective with things. That said, you’ll see that some managerial skills are important in leadership.
- Top on my list is INTEGRITY – Say what you’ll do, and do what you say. In this category, I include authenticity since these two concepts go hand in hand. It’s impossible to be integrous unless you’re rooted in who you are.
- LOYALTY to the team and the organization, as well as its customers. You can expect loyalty from your team only when you exhibit loyalty to each team member. Since the team supports organizational objectives, loyalty to those objectives is also vital. A leader must be enthusiastic about the mission of the team and the organization. Loyalty to customers and other interested parties is also important to doing business.
- COMMUNICATION skills – The ability to communicate verbally and in writing is vital when working with people. Exchanging ideas is a big part of teamwork. That can be accomplished only when people communicate with each other.
- EMPOWERMENT – People do their best work when they feel that they own the results of their production. They want to know how it contributes to a larger mission. When these incentives are in place, they have genuine pride in their work. Leaders must give team members ownership of their tasks for this to happen. A “leader” who micromanages, or worse, does a team member’s work for them takes away that ownership.
- DECISIVENESS – An often-repeated rule of thumb is to make decisions quickly and change them slowly. When you have the facts you need, don’t delay – decide! Your first decision is usually on the mark, so be reluctant to change it. If new facts turn up, examine them carefully and change the decision only when you’re sure you must.
- MANAGERIAL COMPETENCE – I set out differentiating leaders from managers. Nonetheless, leaders must be able to manage the tasks, budgets and schedules the team works with. Managerial competence, as well as people skills, is required.
- CHARISMA – Charisma might be the “softest” and hardest to define of these qualities. It’s essential to every other quality on the list. Charisma draws others in and causes them to enjoy working with you.
Why Do You Need These Certain Strengths to be a Good Leader?
These strengths are the keys to inspiring others to do something.
A leader can often be someone who has these strengths and has not been designated as a leader. Leading from within doesn’t require a title. You can be a leader from wherever you sit on the team.
One with the title of leader or manager, or even president, is not a leader if he or she doesn’t possess all or most of these traits. Most of us have probably worked somewhere where this principle had its effect. I certainly have, several times.
Unfortunately, there are many workplaces where the designated leader is a micromanager or an outright tyrant. The least effective workers may hang around for a while, mostly out of fear or self-limiting beliefs. The real producers usually move on.
In this very brief newsletter I wrote 3+ years ago I referred to a company where leaders become leaders by attracting “follwership”. The company’s management assigns no leadership positions. Seems to me like a very workable arrangement. It works for them!
Why is leadership an important skill?
Believe it or not, most people like to be productive. Leadership is what brings productive people together in teams and inspires them to produce. Leaders also choose the tasks needed in the bigger organizational picture. Team members must all be doing work that contributes to this bigger picture.
A well-organized team can produce several times what the sum of all the members’ efforts would be if each worked alone. 1+1+1+1+1=10 or more on a productive team. The leader is the team member who inspires and supports the team’s work.
Googling ”lëadership” or searching for it on our blog page will turn up a wealth of advice and ideas on leadership qualities. Others may emphasize different items on this list or mention others. The qualities I’ve discussed here will surely turn up in any leadership discussion.
Note: Archived issues of The Unity Community are available here. Search that page for keywords representing your particular interest. Most articles offer suggestions for ways of improving business and personal relationships. Keep in mind that business is done by…people. Every business concern is essentially an inter-personal concern.
A “Shot in the Arm” Every Week!
Eric Lofholm, my friend, mentor and sales coach, hosts a 15-minute motivational call every business day. (For a short time, he switched to doing the call weekly, and it seems nobody liked it.) The call is at 7:45 AM Pacific time. Register for it here. You’ll find instructions on how to join the call on Facebook, Zoom, by phone, or on a recording.
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