What are the qualities of a successful leader? Here are my thoughts on 5 qualities of a successful leader. What are yours?
Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership. – Colin Powell
Qualities of a Successful Leader
Leaders influence people and are influenced by others. Leaders control the crowd—when there is crisis—and are willingly controlled. Leaders motivate teams. They do not coerce. They achieve results by developing a shared vision and communicating it to the team whilst influencing with passion. Leaders have self-esteem, initiative, and commitment. They are self-aware and continually learn.
Over the years I’ve worked with many and been led by few. Through their art I’ve learned to recognise key characteristics and qualities of a successful leader.
1. Leaders Create an Atmosphere of Trust
Leaders recognise that trust is earned. Therefore they walk-the-talk consistently and treat people with respect. Successful teams are confident, trusted and supported by their leader. Leaders look out for their team.
2. Leaders Build the Right Team
Strong leaders build strong teams: groups of people who work together in cooperative effort. They adapt their style to suit any given situation and create an environment where the team flourishes. They also know their strengths and weaknesses (they are self-aware) and those of their team. They play to their team’s strengths.
3. Leaders Keep their Mind On the Big Picture
A good leader doesn’t lose focus and keeps the end goal firmly in mind. They have vision and tirelessly pursue it without getting sidetracked. They are proactive and remove obstacles which get in the way of achieving the vision.
What’s more they show people where they’re heading. People connect with good leaders.
4. Leaders Monitor Performance and Give Feedback
Successful leaders know that setting clear goals and monitoring progress motivates the team and leads to better performance. Furthermore, leaders readily give feedback — since it costs nothing — to positively encourage or to tackle an area of weakness. They never belittle, criticise or degrade a colleague.
5. Leaders Maintain Open Communication
Leaders know that teams succeed when there is open and honest communication. They encourage creativity, innovation and productivity by opening up communication channels between customer and service provider. They don’t hide problems. Rather they let people know straight away; turning a problem into an opportunity for the team to shine.
Have Your Say
Poor leaders rarely show such traits. Indeed they tend lack focus and move from one crisis to another. Do you agree? Or disagree?
Creative Commons image courtesy Charles Haynes.