“Instead of waiting for a leader you can believe in, try this:
Become a leader you can believe in.” —S. Slap
Frequently I’m asked: What are the qualities that make great leaders? What areas should I concentrate on to become an effective leader? What traits do the best leaders commonly have?
Well, here are my favorite traits and qualities that I have seen in the best examples of leadership. I believe these four traits must be in anyone who is leading others. If you do not have these basic qualities, which I call your leadership foundation, then you need to work on yourself first. The skills listed below are not only skills for those in leadership roles, but also help you to be a great friend, parent, partner, teacher, and employee.
Leadership Quality: Optimism
Being around negative people can drag you down and make you feel twice as heavy, and making the day drag on forever When you’re around positive people who lift you up, it impacts many other areas of your life and your work habits. You will notice an increase in everything from your confidence to your personal productivity to new innovative ideas. Try to surround yourself with people who think positively and optimistically. Be careful about radio and TV programs that you pay attention to. If all you listen to is doom and gloom, from listening to the news to watching horror films; it’s going to negatively impact your optimistic attitude.
Leadership Quality: Integrity
Research has proven that one of the top characteristics employees desire in their leaders is integrity. Your employees and team members want to believe in you, and knowing you always are honest with them will instill a level of trust amongst your followers. Do not have special rules or considerations for certain employees. Hold everyone to the same set of rules and treat everyone fairly
Leadership Quality: Confidence
Highly effective leaders know and understand that they are driving the ship. Their team needs to know deep down inside that their leader has the best interest of the company or project in mind. Failure is never an option. So any leader that is uncertain or tentative will have a tentative and uncertain team.
Leadership Quality: Communication
Great leaders ensure that their employees—from all levels of the organization—are up to date on all information regarding the organization’s performance, goals, successes, and failures. In order for this to happen the effective leaders must communicate over and over and over again. Never think that you’re starting to sound like a broken record. You should communicate your message at such a frequent rate that your team can actually finish your sentence for you. It is better to over communicate than to under communicate. Never leave your people lost in the dark, they will only wander away.
Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 for each of the above qualities. Which ones do you need to work on? What areas could use a little refresher course? What leadership traits would you like to teach others by being the role model or mentoring?
Effective leaders know they will never stop learning, even the basic foundations traits.