5 Important Leadership Traits You May Already Have
Being a leader is one of most difficult and rewarding positions in the world. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an industry veteran, knowing which traits effective leaders should have is a integral part of your success. That list would number in the hundreds, so here are several traits you may not have thought about as leadership traits.
Empathy as a Leadership Trait
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. This is incredibly important in any workplace environment and helps you to manage relationships and conflicts. Empathy is not sympathy. It does not mean you have to agree with how someone is feeling, or even relate to their feelings. Instead, empathy is all about the awareness of other people’s feelings, even when you can’t sympathize with them. When you show that you are aware of your employees’ feelings and appreciate those feelings, even when you may not completely understand or relate on a personal level, with them, it builds trust.
A Sense of Humor
A sense of humor is an imperative leadership trait for any business, particularly if things go wrong. (WHEN they go wrong, because they will). When it seems like you are in a dire situation, you need to be able to laugh things off, because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.
Encouraging humor and personal discussions in the workplace will establish the rapport needed to be prepared for dealing with conflict. Being able to diffuse a stressful situation with humor makes people want to follow you, because they know you are on their side and won’t overreact to problems.
Investment in the Community
Immersing yourself in your community provides perspective on your personal life as well as your business. Some of your best ideas will come to you when you are out of your comfort zone and doing something that is completely selfless. It may be that there will be no financial return on the investment of your time in community projects. There are many other benefits that make it well worth the effort. Doing community service as a corporate team adds camaraderie back at the office, and helps your team to look beyond their immediate projects to see the potential global impacts.
Taking the time to think back on past successes and mistakes can lead to an improvement in tomorrow’s decisions. If we are to improve our leadership skills, then it is important that we are aware of our strengths and weaknesses, our values and behaviours, and the ways in which we attempt to influence others. In other words, self-awareness and self-reflection is about learning to understand our leadership style. Reflect on your day and how it went. Check in weekly, monthly and annually to make sure you are still on track and making the best choices possible. Being able to learn from yourself is an essential leadership trait to develop, and someone who already does this in their daily life is one step ahead.
The Ability to Delegate
Sometimes, having a hands-off approach to leadership is more important than dictating things every step of the way. Jamie Naughton, a Zappos colleague, stated that Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, “likes to say that he is more of an architect; he designs the big vision and then gets out of the way so that everyone can make the things happen.” Letting others do what they do best makes you a better leader and it also allows the project to run more smoothly with potentially better quality. When you step back and let qualified team members take over and work together for the greater good, some amazing things can happen!
There are many traits that make up an effective leader, some more obvious than others. The ability to see multiple sides of an issue, keeping things light, and focusing on helping others help to develop good leaders into great ones are just a few.
Very best wishes for your every success,