What are the Strengths of Good Leaders?

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.

A photo of 3 people having a meeting showing the Strengths of Good Leaders

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.

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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. 
  7. 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. 

Let’s Talk!

Leadership is an important coaching topic, and vital to doing good business. Want to add your thoughts on leadership? Reply to this message or click here if you’d like to chat on the phone.

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What would make it even more valuable for you? 

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Your thoughts, suggestions and comments are always welcome. Reply to this message, or go here if you’d like to chat on the phone or Zoom. 

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Want to Do More Business?

Suppose you go to a networking event. You’re amazed to find all your ideal prospects waiting to talk with you.

Our Business Accelerator Platform gives you this kind of exposure to your market. These are the people you want to help!

We find your ideal client prospects and start conversations with them. Then we communicate your value. We get them to schedule appointments with you…all on autopilot. This can happen for you! Learn how here

When you join Smart Money Network’s Business Accelerator Platform, we:

  • Optimize your LinkedIn Profile Page so it better attracts people in your market.

(Hint: What painful issue do you resolve for your clients? If your LinkedIn profile describes how you make your clients’ lives better, it’s rare! Most describe the merchant’s qualifications and expertise. They say little about what he/she does to remove clients’ pain.)

  • LinkedIn has 740 million members. We find the few thousand who match your ideal client profile. You define your best prospect for us. Then we go find them.

(Even if you can find these people by yourself, it will take hours away from your work with your current clients.)

  • Invite about 100 of these best prospects every week to connect with you on LinkedIn.
  • Send a welcome message to those who accept your invitation and connect.

(Typically 15% or more. Currently, over 25% of those I invite are connecting!)

  • Deliver something of value to them from you, and then do it again!
  • Begin a “drip campaign” of carefully timed messages, providing more value. These messages give…give… give…and then ask. No pitches!

All these messages come from you personally. We want and expect your input in developing them…unless you want us to just do it. You can follow the threads and adjust your messages as you see better ways to engage your prospects. We’re always ready to talk with you about improving your messaging.

See a “hot” prospect you want to engage with your unique message? Take over the exchange manually!

Don’t Waste Your Time!

Recently I’ve happily discovered Medium.com. It’s a refreshingly open-minded site where people can post their writing about pretty much anything.

You might find some things there that will offend you with vulgarity, “forbidden” topics, “out-there” opinions, or whatever. Nonetheless, I applaud a site where people can post what they choose.

I just ran across a good article on avoiding time-wasters. Probably more people than not waste time on one or more of the pursuits Sean Kernan discusses here.

Don’t Waste Your Time! peaceful but pissed
Protester Holding sign by max-bender-ODotTSKv_BI-unsplash.jpg

Of these three time-wasters, it seems to me the “elephant in the room” is reading and posting negative chatter on social media. As Sean points out, people are more willing to blurt out whatever’s on their minds when they feel anonymous.

During my years as a professional pilot, I heard many stories of quips offered by pilots on the radio. Unless a pilot chooses to give his or her call sign, no one knows where a radio transmission comes from. Many of these stories were quite amusing, some downright slanderous. Of course, I heard a few of these anonymous remarks first-hand. Of course, some stories no doubt “enhanced” the truth!

One crucial thing comes to mind here. When you speak what’s on your mind, it’s a whole different experience for you than just entertaining a private thought. We all think thoughts that should never be voiced. That’s natural – our minds wander. With that said though, steering your mind in a positive direction is a worthwhile exercise. Think of the glass as half-full, not half-empty.

Putting a thought into spoken words is totally different. The person receiving your message may not know who the message issuer is but, if it’s you, you know who sent it. If it’s a negative message it affects you as much, probably more than if you received it from who-knows-who.

You can quickly dismiss a negative comment from someone you don’t know, or even someone you know but mistrust. When you send a comment, you remember that comment. If it’s negative, it can poison your mind (more than the receiver’s) for a long time.

Two rules to live by if you want to be viewed positively – by others and, most importantly, by yourself:

  • Maintain a positive, productive mindset by keeping your negative thoughts to yourself. If you wouldn’t say what you’re thinking to the other person’s face, don’t post it! (Productive dialog with someone with whose opinion you differ is fine – and positive.)
  • Don’t waste your time reading others’ negative dribble. It too will poison your mind.

To me, reading negative comments on social media or anywhere else has a parallel effect to watching shoot ’em up movies or playing that kind of video games. It can make the reader, viewer, or player begin to believe nasty comments or randomly shooting people is maybe not so bad! I’m convinced the experiences with violent games and movies are behind some mass shootings.

Sean’s article mentions two other pursuits that can sap your time. I haven’t dwelled on them here, since I think the internet drain overshadows them. Nonetheless, these others can drain our time reserves if we ignore the advice Sean offers.

  • When a relationship is dead, save yourself hours of anguish by letting it die. You’ll know if it’s honestly recoverable, but don’t delude yourself.
  • Passion is a wonderful thing. Temper it with consideration of the consequences of mindless passionate actions. Those actions might cost you many hours, dollars and anguish!

New Year, New Habits!

Which of your habits (we all have many!) are serving you well? Which are detrimental for you? What new habits would you like to establish?

Want to :

  • Quit smoking?
  • Lose weight?
  • Make your bed every morning?
  • Eat a small amount of healthy chocolate each day?

Last week I got a recommendation for a book which I’m pretty sure will change my life.

What causes habits to form, or disappear? This book, by B.J. Fogg, can probably help you make some worthwhile adjustments as well. Fogg analyzes habits. What causes them to form, disappear, or change.

He analyzes what makes it possible to adopt habits without difficulty. His core principle is B=M+A+P.

Behavior results from

  • Motivation to do something – what makes you want to do it. You want to lose weight.
  • Ability – how easy it is to do. Often that’s one ridiculously easy step. You put half a teaspoon less sugar in your coffee. A new behavior is easier if you reduce the practice to a tiny fraction of your full intent.
  • Prompt – a natural, easy key to remind yourself to do it. Tie a ribbon on the handle of the sugar spoon, or on the handle of your coffee cup. It’s actually better if the reminder is something already in your routine. E. g. you sit down at the breakfast table, or you pour your coffee.

At times when motivation is low (happens for all of us!) doing the easy minimum meets your obligation. You can still congratulate yourself on accomplishing your new habit.

Fogg has many more nuances to refine the process of establishing new habits.

Do you aspire to building new habits or eliminating others, to change your life? I recommend you explore BJ Fogg’s recommendations.

They provide a great alternative to “resolutions” which are often forgotten after a few weeks or months.