Company and executive leaders are often placed in the same predicament. Nearly one-third of employees don’t trust management. In addition to this, employers now have to cater to the needs of the millennial generation. On average, a millennial will change jobs four times before turning 32. Most of them also don’t feel empowered in their current jobs.
It’s clear that many leaders are failing to foster a sense of trust and loyalty in their employees. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case. Managers who show great leadership qualities can inspire their teams to accomplish amazing things.
- Strong Communication
Without a doubt, being an effective communicator is a top attribute of a successful leader. You may have a clear vision of what you’re trying to accomplish, but if you can’t convey it to your team or colleagues, it will be almost impossible to carry out. By developing the ability to clearly describe what you want done and relate it to your team, you will unite everyone’s efforts. More specifically, your team needs to be aligned and on-board with your strategic objectives and goals to be successful.
Communication also extends to practices such as an open-door policy or holding regular one-on-one meetings with team members. Express your vision clearly and then make yourself accessible to discuss anything going on in the workplace. Utilisation and understating of three key aspects of communication, being Message, Audience and Environment will greatly assist you in being a better communicator.
- Good Listening Skills
While effectively communicating your expectations and vision is one of the top successful leadership characteristics, it’s also important to listen to what your team has to say. “Speaking and hearing” are two sides of the same coin and the best leaders do both well.
Listening seems deceptively simple, but it can be difficult to pause in the middle of your busy day to sit with an employee or quietly tune in from the sidelines of a strategic planning meeting. Employees need to know their concerns and ideas are being heard—this not only helps build morale, but it makes your organisation better because you are getting input from the people who are on the front lines. A leader who practices the art of listening gains the knowledge needed to solve problems, improve products or services, and build a strong company culture.
- Passion & Commitment
Enthusiasm for your work will get others excited because they can see and feel your dedication. But you must also add commitment to the mix of strategic leadership qualities, because passion doesn’t always get the job done. Commitment is the ability to stay focused on what will make you successful.
One simple way to convey your passion and commitment is to lead by example. You expect your team to work hard and produce quality results, so roll up your sleeves and join them I refer to this as elbow time. Team motivation significantly increases when people see their boss working alongside them, putting in the same level of effort (or more) than everyone else. When you show that hard work is being done on every level of the organization, you prove your commitment and earn the respect of your team as a leader.
A positive attitude is contagious. In negative circumstances, the ability to remain positive has a flow on effect to those around you. If your team is led and surrounded by happy and positive people, they will work harder and be happier themselves. Positivity can take many forms in the workplace – from the previously mentioned open-door-policy, to encouraging and advocating positive dialogue between management and team. Of course, there should be a balance between play time and productive time, but do your best to create a positive, supportive environment during the workday.
When you’ve been working at a company for years, or simply been in the same career for a while, it’s easy to get stuck. Being a strong leader requires practicality and realism, but just as importantly it requires having an eye for innovation and the vision to execute on it.
In other words, don’t get too comfortable. If an idea or process is foreign to you, assess it and look at the benefits of implementing something new. Characteristics of a successful leader include being open to change and thoughts “outside the box”, because that is precisely what will give you a competitive advantage.
Remember that you may not be the most innovative person in the room – but you still need to foster innovation amongst your team. Be sure to have sessions or days where you encourage ideas about innovating around your strategy and give some of the ideas the resources they need to be tested or expanded.
Having a collaborative approach to leadership is powerful because it naturally creates transparency in the workplace. If you’re connected to your team and genuinely interested in collaborating with them, they will know what you’re thinking and vice versa. Collaboration leads to trust, and your team will be more likely to support your vision.
People want to own what they help create.
One way to improve collaboration is to create some small projects and put others in charge. Play the role of participant on the project instead of being a leader. Show your colleagues that you respect their ideas and approach. From there, you can begin implementing this with bigger projects and initiatives. Be sure to give credit where it’s due-in public-so that others can see that you appreciate their contributions.
In many ways, successful leadership begins with honesty. Being upfront about your successes, failures, and reasoning for choosing certain strategies and goals over others will earn the respect of your team.
Being honest isn’t always easy, because it requires communicating both the good and the bad. It’s not about popularity, but rather about integrity.
Being an honest leader also includes being publicly transparent. When you’re honest and transparent, it’s easier to get everyone on the same page and earn the trust of your employees and community when trying to achieve your strategic goals.
Conducting communication in a no bruise manner and removing any brutal connotation is a great example to others on how to still get your point across without placing the other person on the immediate defensive.
Honesty is always the best policy, but successful leadership often requires you to be tactful. Diplomacy is a learned skill that helps leaders effectively manage conflict using negotiation and sensitivity. It requires an unbiased, strategic approach to problem solving.
It’s inevitable when planning and executing your strategy that you’ll deal with disagreements and competing priorities. Having different points of view ultimately strengthens your workplace, but it’s a reality that can be difficult to manage in the short term. Successful leadership is being able to navigate these difficulties and turn them into wins whenever possible. There is such a thing as positive conflict if everyone supports the outcome and wants to share in success.
Being empathetic doesn’t mean you’re the organisation’s resident therapist. It means you try to understand your team’s problems by seeing things from their perspective. Practicing empathy creates meaningful connections because leaders develop an awareness of the challenges and needs of a team, versus sitting oblivious in an ivory tower.
Aside from the interpersonal benefits, empathy is also a practical tool. When you truly understand what it takes to execute a strategy, you’re able to set more realistic goals and timelines. Empathetic leaders gain the respect of employees and are more likely to successfully execute strategies.
Humility is one of the most respected successful leadership qualities. Humble leaders admit their mistakes, apologise when necessary, and always share credit. This behaviour makes you more relatable, it’s also simply a best practice to empower and reward others instead of acting like the smartest person in the room.
Practice humility not only with other people, but with your planning and processes. This means recognizing you don’t know everything and some of the best strategies have flaws. By being open to learning and leaving your ego at the door, you’re more prepared to help your business adapt and improve.