Leaders guide our nation, organization, and communities. We need leaders to take big decisions and guide us in the right direction. Let’s find out who leaders are and what leadership qualities they have.
What Is a Leader?
A leader is someone who others look up to in good and bad times. A leader is an influencer, coach, mentor, and inspirer. Leaders provide direction and guidance to their followers. A leader nurtures the strengths and talents of their followers and builds teams to achieve the desired goal. There are several leadership qualities that make an effective leader and we will explore them in detail as we go further in this article.
4 Ways HR Can Help Develop Leadership Qualities in Employees
Human resources are the driving force behind developing leaders. Below are a few ways in which HR can foster leadership in an organization.
HR should arrange training sessions that empower employees and hone their leadership skills. It can take an active part in discovering skills that certain employees are best at and then providing them adequate training to nurture their skills further. HR also mentors employees, directs them in their career paths, and then develops strategies accordingly.
Develop Promotion Systems
HR should develop efficient promotion systems. This means that instead of only promoting employees with technical skills to leadership positions, they should also promote employees that exhibit excellent interpersonal skills. HR needs to ensure that those who are promoted to leadership positions are sufficiently trained. HR should make a consistent effort to provide them with coaching and mentoring on a continuous basis. It is also the responsibility of HR to ensure succession planning.
Encourage Team-based Approach
Good leaders encourage teamwork and motivate and inspire teams to put up their best show. For that to happen, HR must ensure that hiring, promotion, and coaching are set in place to promote the right people to leadership roles.
HR should support leaders by mentoring and coaching them to adopt a team-based approach rather than letting individuals work in silos
Collaborate With Senior Management
HR business partners work with higher management to identify the organizational strategy and big picture goals. HR must know what leadership roles suit which strategy which requires them to work with senior management.
15 Leadership Qualities to Adopt
An essential quality of a leader is honesty. A good leader is one who takes responsibility, holds themselves accountable, and is true to their words. It is an important trait to have in order to build trust and loyalty. An honest leader is reliable and is someone to who everyone looks up.
A Strong leadership foundation rests on integrity. It is one of the core qualities that a leader must possess. A leader who stands by their belief and values regardless of how hard the situation gets is a true leader. A good leader inspires others by their loyalty and ethics and never chooses personal over professional gains. A leader with integrity refrains from compromising on their principles is true to their subordinates and avoids taking shortcuts.
One of the leadership qualities that are integral to have is the skill to communicate effectively. A good leader knows how to get the message across. Depending on the people and situation, an effective leader makes a wise choice of words. Moreover, a leader also knows how to understand the non-verbal cues of subordinates.
Communication also means the ability to listen. A good leader is also a good listener.
Being a leader doesn’t mean to be authoritative that you show disrespect to your fellows. Treating people with the utmost respect is one of the most important leadership qualities. You should be mindful of other people’s values, opinions, and ideas to ensure no one is hurt. Showing respect for others harnesses trust, loyalty and minimizes the chances of a conflict.
Courage is the ability to voice your concerns, point out when something isn’t right or simply flag a concern. It is that one quality that prevents conflict from brewing and instead moves things in the right path. It is having the confidence to steer things in the right direction when all is going astray.
Leadership is the ability to transform without dominating or overpowering others. A good leader is humble and empathetic towards their coworkers. Humble leaders care for their employees, help organizations grow, and are able to maintain their market position. Employees who are led by humble leaders are more likely to perform better, work harder because they feel valued.
An effective leader is someone who has high self-esteem and is confident about their competencies, skills, and knowledge. They don’t need assurance from others to take the lead. A leader has enough self-confidence to set goals, take risks, and reach new heights every day. Confident leaders make well-informed decisions, act quickly in situations and resolve conflicts with ease.
Ability to Listen Actively
Listening to others demonstrates respect for them, their value, and ideas. A good leader listens proactively to others without imposing authority. Listening is an essential quality to have because it creates trust and loyalty among employees. They feel valued and respected and feel motivated to perform better.
Problem Solving Skills
Leadership is not only about managing people and delegating tasks. A leader is required to have a hawk’s eye for organizational issues and have strong analytical skills. Leaders have the ability to understand all kinds of problems, analyze them and solve them in a way that is beneficial to the organization and its people. It is one of the critical leadership qualities to have.
Decision Making Skills
A leader knows that their decision-making skill can either make or break the organization. Therefore, it is one thing that leaders should be very conscious of. A good leader is someone who works with clarity and makes decisions based on the right information, facts, and figures. A leader doesn’t base their decision on rumors or inadequate knowledge. Leaders evaluate a situation thoroughly and take input from others before reaching any conclusion.
Delegation is essential for maximizing team performance and productivity. A good leader knows how to delegate tasks to others wisely. A leader is known for managing several things at the same time and is usually very busy. Therefore delegating smaller and trivial tasks to otters will free them up for bigger more important tasks.
However, a leader must also be aware of who has the skills and expertise for a specific task. Only then should they delegate tasks.
Have you ever wondered how are leaders able to share their life journeys? That is because, for the most part of their professional life, they continued to learn, unlearn and grow. Great leaders are always hungry for knowledge and new experiences. They have the zest to discover new things every day and consume knowledge from different sources. A leader is always inquisitive and curious to expand their skillset and consistently tries to better themselves.
Out of all the leadership qualities, having gratitude is an excellent quality to have. Expressing gratitude towards others makes employees feel appreciated. It also makes a leader content with work and reduces anxiety and depression.
A leader needs to be well-disciplined enough to inspire others. Self-disciplined leaders manage their work and time well, work with persistence and incorporate the same in their work culture.
The world has become fast-paced with work trends changing over time. Agile leaders are quick to respond to uncertainty and changes. Now, leaders are expected to make quick decisions in times of crisis. They are also required to equip themselves with new techniques for the old ones have become obsolete. A crisis that recently hit the world was covid-19 and required leaders and managers to rethink their work strategies overnight.
A leader must be prepared to face uncertainty and challenges at any time of the day and should be agile enough to quickly respond and act.
Qualities That Make an Ineffective Leader
Can you recall a time when you worked for a good boss and a bad boss? What was it that was different between the two?
It is the qualities that differentiate a good leader from a bad one. It is essential to note a leader’s qualities because they demonstrate your relationship with your boss and will help you hone your own skills and qualities.
Here are a few qualities of a bad leader. You would really want to take notes here.
There is nothing worse than having a leader who exhibits rigidity and inflexibility. Gone are those days when a leader could make do with one management style. Times have changed and now call for adaptability. A bad leader imposes their authority unnecessarily, has no understanding of their team as a consequence of which they make no effort in motivating their employees individually.
A leader is not expected to make everyone happy but is for sure expected to step in when there is a conflict brewing up in the team. A bad leader tends to ignore and allows the conflict to be blown into something bigger. An ineffective leader doesn’t intervene to resolve conflict and instead waits for it to go away by itself.
Inability to Conform to Company’s Culture
An ineffective leader fails to go by the company’s culture and values. This could be detrimental to an organization’s cultural and financial health. A culture is set in place to uplift teams and if not followed by the leader could harm the company’s reputation and financial position.
A self-centered leader is miserable to have around. This is because they tend to take all the credit for success and blame others for failures. They lower the morale of the employees and do not appreciate them for their efforts. A self-centered leader is arrogant and difficult to work with.
Businesses that are led by non-visionary leaders have high chances of failing. This is because a non-visionary leader is not far-sighted and not inspired to bring changes as and when needed. They are afraid to take risks and usually go by their conventional methods of leading the team and making decisions. Satisfied with the status quo, they are more about surviving than growing. They don’t have the knack to innovate.
Poor Communication Skills
As mentioned above, communication is the key to successful leadership. An inefficient leader communicates ineffectively with the team causing confusion. They don’t have the understanding of choosing the right words and are often harsh to their fellows. They are emotionally unintelligent and prefer to stay this way.
Over Power Instead of Empower
Bad employees exhibit a ‘know-it-all’ behavior. They refrain from giving equal opportunities to their team members and tend to make most decisions themselves. They seldom unleash positive traits in their team members and are more likely to dictate than to let them participate.
Poor Listening Ability
A leader who overpowers is also a bad listener. They hardly lend a listening ear to others which reflects a lack of respect and humility. Because bad leaders are self-centered and demonstrate a know-it attitude, they impose orders without taking into consideration other people’s beliefs, views, and ideas.
Examples of Good Leaders
The world has given us some great leaders to take inspiration from. Whether they are the leaders from history or the modern world, they have truly inspired mankind to learn from them. Some of them are mentioned below.
Gate is known for innovation and nurturing creativity in his employees. He’s known for his leadership because he appreciates the efforts and hard work of his employees. Although he demonstrated authority, he is not rigid. He’s known for his flexibility in adopting different leadership styles.
If there has to be one word to describe this man, it would be ‘an innovator’. Known for blessing the world with Apple products like iPhone and Macbook, Steve Jobs worked in teams, took into consideration the likes of the end consumer, and came up with the most stylish designs.
Angela Merkel is one of the influential Germans today. Known for running the German economy for 11 years, she has won the hearts of her people by demonstrating honesty, loyalty, humility, and respect for them.
Nelson Mandela is synonymous with ‘courage’. Known for leading the movement against apartheid in South Africa, Mandela was never afraid to stand up and speak against the wrong and injustice. He wanted people to live in peace in South Africa and was able to accomplish it with his determination, passion, and resilience.
Is It Necessary to Have All Leadership Qualities?
To become a good leader, you don’t have to possess all the qualities. Having a mix should be sufficient to demonstrate effective leadership. However, what matters is your approach. You should be open to change and adapt to situations as and when needed.
Becoming a leader is not a cakewalk and requires unwavering dedication and commitment. Are you ready to show some?