Forgotten traits of great leaders

Leaders create value. They drive a powerful team and try to paint a vision of the future that inspires people to do whatever it takes to get there.

A good leader is one who can lead by example and support their team members to forge their own path, enabling them to work on their tasks without the need for constant supervision.

Research has shown that businesses with the highest quality leaders were 13 times more likely to outperform their competition in areas such as financial performance, quality of products and services, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction.

Indeed, this finding illustrates the importance of having good leadership in your business.

We find that, what’s often misunderstood when talking about leadership is the difference between ‘leading’ and ‘managing’.

Leadership is all about influencing and motivating, allowing others to contribute to business success. Managers, on the other hand, are very rational and task-oriented, usually telling people what they need to do. Good leadership is what is required to fuel the progress in any business.

We all know great leaders possess certain traits that make them successful (personality, courage, clear vision and ambition to succeed) but there are additional, equally important traits that probably don’t get as much attention as they deserve. Read about our top three picks below.

1. Honesty

In leadership, honesty is a very important virtue. Your business and its employees are a reflection of yourself, and if you make honest and ethical behaviour a key value in your business, your team will follow suit. If a leader is not honest, followers may misinterpret this behaviour as acceptable and can, in turn, spread dishonesty through every level of the business.

To ensure you are promoting honest behaviour in your business, it is useful to make a list of values and core beliefs that both you and your business represent and make this list visible to your employees. Encourage your team to live up to these standards. By displaying them yourself, you are signalling to employees that these standards are important to the business and will hopefully influence the work environment into a friendly and helpful workspace.

2. Ability to delegate

Delegating tasks to the appropriate departments is one of the most important skills you can develop as your business grows. You can achieve more, save time and increase your value by trusting your team with your vision.

If you don’t learn to do this, you may have difficulty progressing your business to the next stage.

The key to delegation is knowing who to delegate to and when; this means identifying the strengths of your team, and capitalising on them. Find out what each team member enjoys doing most and delegate tasks that will teach new skills and give them the opportunity to develop themselves. This is not only advantageous for your team members but will also free up time to focus on your own tasks.

3. Communication

Arguably, the most important skill to leadership success is effective communication. It’s not enough to speak clearly; you have to make sure you’re being heard and understood. Knowing what you want accomplished may seem clear in your head, but you also need to be able to communicate this to others so they too can understand your vision. If you can’t get this across to your team, chances are you won’t all be working towards the same goal.

Aside from practising your communication skills, opening the lines of communication in your business also plays an important role in creating a productive work environment. Whether you implement an ‘open door’ policy to your office or make a point of talking to your staff on a daily basis, being available to discuss workplace issues is key.

These qualities, along with a positive attitude, confidence and the ability to inspire, create a well-rounded approach to leadership and encourage your team to perform to their optimum all the times.

About the author

Paula Maidens is the Managing Director – Recruitment Coach

Recruitment Coach is a unique coaching and consulting firm for small-medium businesses, specialising in simple, effective human resources strategies.

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