When you think of a good leader, what are the main qualities that come to mind? To be a strong and successful leader, experts agree that some of the most important qualities to have include intelligence, adaptability, conscientiousness, assertiveness, and emotional intelligence. Whether they work in business, politics, healthcare, education, or any other field, the best leaders tend to be individuals who empower and inspire others with their positive attitude. They place high value on their team and are dedicated to inspiring them to be the best that they can be. No matter what kind of management or leadership position you are in, working with others and leading teams to success is a crucial part of this job.
So, what can you do to become a better leader? Which qualities should you prioritize working on when it comes to improving your leadership skills and being more effective when working closely with teams of other people? The good news is that there are various strategies to consider when it comes to improving your leadership qualities, and many are simple strategies that you can use on a daily basis to make small yet highly effective changes to your work that will be demonstrable in the results that your team achieve.
Understand Your Personal Leadership Style
To become a better leader, one of the first things that you should do is understand your personal leadership style. Figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are, and be honest with yourself when it comes to any areas that could use some improvement. Determine what your main qualities and characteristics are as a leader, and ask yourself whether these qualities tend to be something that benefits or hinders you when leading others. It’s important to be as honest as possible with yourself, even if the answers that you get are not exactly what you wanted to hear about yourself. You might also find it helpful to speak to people that you work with closely to get their take on what you are like as a leader; tell them to be as honest as they need to be, to help you improve yourself as a leader using their feedback.
Demonstrate Passion for What You Do
One of the major things that people will pick up on in a great leader is a clear passion for what they do. Put yourself in the position of your team; it’s not very likely that you’d be willing to look up to somebody for leadership and guidance if they seem unbothered or indifferent about what the group is working towards or their goals. A great leader is not only somebody who is focused on getting things done, but they will also do it with a lot of passion and enthusiasm that shines through. Consider working on different ways to show your passion for what you do when developing this key leadership quality. Make it clear to your team members that you are proud of their progress and accomplishments and get enthusiastic about getting everybody involved to make contributions.
Be a Good Role Model
A leader who inspires change and gets the best results is somebody who is a shining role model to their team. A good leader doesn’t just say all the right things, but they will also act in a way that inspires others to do the same. The characteristics and behaviors that they want to see from their team are going to be something that any good leader will be able to demonstrate themselves. As a result, this earns a good leader the respect of their team, who look up to them and follow their example. They foster certain beliefs that are used to inspire a team, creating a culture of more optimism and higher standards for performance and achievements. One of the best things that you can do if you want to become a better leader is to work on demonstrating the qualities that you want your team to also display.
Dedicate Yourself to Learning
Good leaders know that there’s never going to be a day where they know everything. A good leader is committed to learning more and improving their abilities, skills and knowledge. Leadership is not a one-way street, and effective leaders know that there is often just as much that they can learn from their team as their team can learn from them. Along with actively asking your team for their input and learning from their contributions, it’s also worth demonstrating your willingness to learn new things by taking on new educational challenges and consistently pushing yourself. One ideal way to do this is to consider getting a master leader degree qualification from SBU. Online degree programs in leadership are a great way to learn more about becoming a better leader while putting your new knowledge and skills into practice in your role.
One of the best things that you can do to become a better and more effective leader is to spend your time motivating others, rather than simply telling them what to do. A good leader knows the importance of keeping others motivated towards meeting goals and getting the best results. And, you don’t have to be giving long motivational speeches every day to be effective at this. Inspirational leaders will motivate others in a wide range of ways including positive reinforcement, offering praise and recognition when a team member or the entire team achieves something good, demonstrating genuine passion for the work and the goals, and making sure that team members are involved in the process.
While forcing yourself to be positive all the time isn’t realistic, nobody likes a leader who will always manage to see the bad side of things. For every situation that you might find yourself in, there is usually always a silver lining or a reason to be positive. While finding some balance and being realistic is important, the best leaders know how important it is to find that sliver of hope and display a positive, can-do attitude that will ultimately inspire their team to overcome challenges and come up with creative solutions to overcome these situations. A good leader is somebody who tends to look at challenges in an optimistic way. When something goes wrong, approaching it from a place of positivity and taking it as a chance to learn something new or improve things for the future is crucial.
Become a Better Listener and Communicator
Good leaders know that there is much more to communication than simply giving out instructions that are to be followed. While leading a team is definitely a role where you’re going to be in charge of making sure that team members have the instructions that they need to get the best results, it’s important to focus on making sure that you are communicating effectively. This is especially true in tough situations where you might be dealing with team members that are currently displaying poorer performance than usual, or in a situation where team members are struggling to understand what needs to be done. Being able to actively listen to others is a quality that you can use in a huge range of different situations as a leader, to make sure that you have a better understanding of the situation and are able to offer the most effective support where needed. A good leader will often use overcommunication to ensure that their team is kept up to date. They don’t shy away from including team members in as much as possible and make sure that teams have all the information that they need, rather than keeping people in the dark. They understand the importance of seeing the bigger picture when it comes to meeting goals.
Intellectual stimulation is one of the main aspects of leadership that is transformational and effective. Rather than being a leader who is only focused on getting things done in a methodical way, you might find that you are able to get better results if you actively encourage team members to express their ideas and come up with creative solutions. Often, it’s ideas from team members that you might not have thought of yourself that can end up being the solution to a challenge you’re struggling to overcome. An effective leader will take any opportunity to encourage their team to be creative and takes all creative input on board.
Get Regular Feedback
Bear in mind that there’s no need for your team to believe that you’re the best leader in the world. In fact, trying to hide your weaknesses and acting like there’s nowhere to improve will probably lose the confidence and respect of your team rather than the other way around. We are all human, and being able to admit that you have areas that need improvement, ask for feedback, and act on that feedback will help you become a leader that is respected and admired for your honesty and self-awareness.
There’s far more to being a leader than simply giving out instructions. If you want to improve your leadership skills and become more effective at guiding your team towards success, work on improving these qualities.