While every manager is an individual, many of the best leaders in the world have certain traits in common. Whether these characteristics came naturally or if they were skills learned over time, honing these abilities can make any leader more effective.
Often, the greatest leaders have a combination of traits, striking a balance between being performance-focused and people-oriented. If you want to join the ranks of the elite, here are some insights into what they have in common.
Trust Building is a Priority
Great leaders know that, to manage effectively, having the trust of their staff is essential. This allows everyone to have confidence in the manager’s vision, increasing the rate of buy-in. Similarly, it creates an environment where everyone has each other’s backs, as well as a feeling of being a part of a whole instead of just an individual contributor.
Building trust can take time but isn’t inherently hard to do. By holding yourself to the highest ethical standards, following through on your word, being transparent when it counts, and being a role model for any desired behaviors, you can cultivate trust in nearly any workplace.
Inspiration Through Purpose
Today’s workforce isn’t motivated by their paychecks alone. Instead, they want to align with a greater purpose, providing them with a sense of intrinsic motivation based on taking part in work that matters.
Outstanding leaders know how to inspire their staff by defining that higher purpose, giving everyone’s work additional meaning based on more than just economic gain, but social value as well. Often, this involves clearly articulating the company’s values and beliefs, and ensuring that any actions align with those points. Additionally, it requires looking beyond profits and instead focusing on how the business impacts the greater good, making sure the products and services are beneficial to society as well as the bottom line.
Planning to Perform
Exceptional leaders understand that companies don’t reach their goals by accident. Instead, thorough planning is a must, allowing the organization to work toward their objectives strategically through clear direction. Additionally, the elimination of ambiguity is essential, as an inability to clearly articulate the plan is ultimately a hindrance to success.
Typically, a leader must be able to take a hard, detailed, and honest look at their company, including any shortcomings that may be harming growth. They must be willing to question the status quo and make adjustments to existing paradigms, potentially even eliminating the tried-and-true approaches that now promote stagnation. Then, they must be able to create a plan that inspires, pushing people to succeed by embracing what is challenging without making the goals unachievable.
Ultimately, nearly all of the best leaders have the capabilities listed above. By honing your skills in these areas, you can become a stronger leader to your team and organization as a whole.
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