Being a leader is important if you want to make your way up, but it takes certain traits to make a good leader. If you’re looking to build yourself into the perfect leader, read on to find out the 5 traits every leader needs to have, and how you can have them too.
Confidence is one of the most important traits a leader can have. No one has ever seen a leader who’s too afraid to speak up, or too shy. It’s important to have confidence with other people, and in yourself, too, if you want to be a good leader. This allows you to inspire your team and give them confidence themselves, make clear decisions and pave the way for development.
If you’re lacking in confidence, it’s important to build it up. Find opportunities where you can put yourself out of your comfort zone – giving speeches, taking on difficult tasks, and taking on roles you’re not used to doing. Find out where your line is, and cross it to push yourself into new areas where maybe you’re not comfortable, but where you can grow.
This one is simple: good leaders have knowledge. They know the field they’re in like the back of their hand and can make decisions whilst being informed. Having a leader who doesn’t know their area, or gets confused when faced with a fairly simple question, creates a lot of uncertainty and distrust within a team and can often lead people in the wrong direction, or even worse – many wrong directions!
Getting knowledge is one of the simplest things to do on this list, however – all it takes is a bit of time, practice, and effort. The best way is to take a course; for example, if you’re into business, taking a course in business like an MBA is the best way to give yourself the background information you need. For more information, this article by Aston University Online talks about how degrees like an MBA can give you the knowledge to become advanced and professional and make yourself into a leader.
Good Communication Skills
It’s important to be a good communicator as a leader, for many reasons. You want to be able to send your team in a clear direction, but also motivate them to go into that direction with spirit and enthusiasm. You want to be able to pick up when things are wrong and open the path for employees to talk about problems without being afraid of the backlash, and you want to be able to communicate how to fix problems as well as avoid them in the future. Without being a good communicator, a leader wouldn’t be able to be a true part of the team.
When gaining good communication skills, it’s a combination of lots of good things put into practice e.g. using good body language, taking time to think about what you say, keeping eye contact. Most of these are little things, but when used well, they can make the biggest difference. For more information, read this article listing 9 tips for improving your communication skills.
Lots of people believe that to be a leader, you need to be cold, separated, and objective. And whilst it’s true that in some situations you need a clear head, it’s important to have empathy, too. This allows you to connect with a variety of people – you can connect with your employees and understand what they need to function well, and what problems they might be facing. You can understand your customer’s desires, and work to fulfil them so you can make the best of your business. You can use empathy for anyone you come across, as it not only allows you to communicate better with others but work to provide a better experience for them and you.
A starter to developing empathy is to simply ask yourself – how would you feel if you were that other person? What sort of things would you want if you were in that situation? To get an idea of how someone might be feeling or what they might want, the easiest way is simply to ask more questions – not closed questions, but open questions that give you a lot of depth, so you can understand the other person deeper and work to their needs.
Any job comes with hardships and setbacks, but this speaks truer for leaders. The main role of a leader isn’t to avoid as many setbacks as possible, but to bounce back when they happen and be prepared for any hardships that might come. Regretting mistakes, complaining about problems, and giving up in hurdles are all the things that make a bad leader, but keeping a positive attitude, looking forward to the next steps and learning from previous errors without beating you or anyone else up is exactly what a good leader needs.
The best way to develop resilience may surprise you. It’s not courses or tips; in fact, it’s mindfulness. Making time for mindfulness in your day is a great way to practice being in the moment, and observing things without letting them sweep you away. Practicing it every day means it becomes easier, and when hardships do come, you can take a deep breath, remember what’s important, recentre yourself in the present without leaving yourself in past mistakes, and focus on what you can do now to move forward rather than get stuck in regrets. It’s a good thing not only for you as a leader, but for your employees to do, too – a great idea some businesses have taken up is to offer mindfulness sessions for their employees, and help improve work ethic and efficiency. If you’re interested in taking up mindfulness, click here to read more about what it is and how you can get started.
Being a good leader takes certain skills, but that doesn’t mean it’s unattainable if you don’t have these skills – taking time to build them up can make you a good leader.