What exactly are the qualities of an effective leader?
CREDIT: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on About Leaders
Honesty, sincerity and integrity
These qualities are important to enable both leaders and team members to work efficiently. Honesty and integrity are key traits that make team members trust each other; by being sincere, you make people trust you. If you are an honest leader, your team members will be honest too and this will contribute to forming strong bonds within the team. Staff will learn that integrity means sticking to your values and making ethical decisions – and they will be inspired to do the same.
Inspiring and motivating
Here is the big difference between a manager and a leader; no-one would say that managers cannot be inspiring but this quality has been especially noticed in leaders.
Having such a strong bond with their team, a good leader knows every member; they know what challenges each person – and what motivates and inspires them. A good leader has a positive and encouraging approach towards team members. Their words and actions both inspire people, encouraging them to dream, learn and work in order to become a better version of themselves.
Assertive communication and listening
Above all other qualities of effective leaders, they must be good communicators. Knowing how to express ideas in a clear and simple way is a great quality that not everyone has. Some people get lost in thoughts and opinions, and have a hard time expressing their ideas, which may lead to misunderstandings and delays.
Being a good communicator is not only about speaking, it is also about listening. A leader does not listen just to form a reply, but in order to understand. By listening attentively to their colleagues, a leader will get to know them better and this can only contribute to building a stronger bond and cohesion within the team.
A leader has the responsibility of making the right decisions at the right time and these decisions must be in line with their vision. However, every leader will encounter difficult situations where the process of making a decision can become cumbersome. Approaching such situations calmly is essential; a leader must keep in mind that the decisions they make have a huge impact on both their teams and clients.
Honesty is not a quality that is present only in the relationship between a leader and their team; a leader should be honest with themselves, as well, and recognise that there are times when the workload is overwhelming and there are high priority tasks.
If a leader needs to delegate, it does not mean that they’re not working hard enough; it means that they have the ability to recognise when they’re overwhelmed.
Delegation has a positive effect on the team. It gives the feeling that they can take on more important responsibilities and face more challenges. Delegation has also an empowering effect, giving the team a sense that they can do more and can contribute in a positive way.
There are many leadership types but some of them have been proven to be more effective than others. Transformational leadership is thought to be one of the best and one of the main characteristics of this leadership style is empathy.
Empathy is the ability to understand the emotions and feelings of other people; when someone is empathetic, they can put themselves in someone else’s shoes. Empathy helps people connect better with others. This is effective and helpful when someone leads a team as it inspires loyalty and devotion, things that strengthen the bond within the team.
As with everything in life, there are good and bad times in a project and with your team. There are hardships to overcome and obstacles that can drain your energy and motivation.
This is the time when a resilient leader shines. Resilience means having a positive attitude in times of hardship. It means focusing on solutions, not just on problems.
Failures can happen at any time but the positive approach of a leader can make the team feel that these are temporary setbacks – not colossal and irreversible failures. This gives a sense of hope to the team and will help to keep them motivated in good times and bad.