The number one question that I get asked about leadership is ‘what qualities should I focus on developing to become a leader?
First off, don’t just focus on being a leader. Focus on being a great leader. That way, if you don’t make it, you can still become a leader and even a good leader.
Second, to be seen as a leader, you need to stand out from the crowd. There are a lot of smart people doing good work, but to be a leader, it’s not just about your contribution. It’s about how you improve the contribution of those around you and take teams to the next level.
Here are seven qualities that I look for when thinking about who could be a great leadership candidate.
This one is a no-brainer. If you’re looking for someone to take a team forward, you need someone up for the challenge. That looks to take on those tough jobs that others shy away from. This was my path into leadership, having that willingness to step forward when others were taking a step back. Having the boldness to create visions that inspire teams and get them engaged.
The number of initiatives that fail because people don’t understand what is expected of them is staggering. In my experience, I would say it’s the number one reason why things fail. Sometimes teams want to be engaged, but it’s hard to engage in things you don’t understand.
Clarity of mission, clarity of purpose, and clarity in the expectations you have of people is critical to success.
Every great challenge is going to have it”s tough days. Those days when turning back seems like the wiser choice, the easier option, but quitting is a path that leads to failure. Leaders have to have the persistence to keep pushing, remain motivated, and try one more time. Being persistent doesn’t mean doing the same thing the same way because it’s madness to try again if it isn’t working. Being persistent is about keeping your eye on the prize, trying different things, being flexible in your approach, and trying again.
No leader achieves anything on their own. Everyone needs the support of their team and their network. The ability to build strong relationships is crucial to leaders. It will help during the tough times by keeping your teams committed and also help you bring more resources to the challenge. The stronger the network, the stronger the leader.
Complexity kills execution. People are not afraid of hard work; they are afraid of failure, and if you can keep things simple so people can see how they will be successful, they will take that opportunity. No one comes to work happy to fail. Everyone wants to be part of a winning team, and if you can show them how to win, this will boost their enthusiasm.
Teams that take ownership and show accountability achieve far more than teams that don’t, and accountability starts at the top—teams model what they see in their leaders. So any leader that shows accountability will be able to create a high-performing culture that takes ownership and delivers great results.
Communication is a two-way street, and people that demonstrate the ability to listen show respect ad build trust in their teams. Also, the ability to communicate simply, clearly, and frequently will allow your teams to know what’s expected, where they are on the journey, and what needs to be done now.
If you’re not communicating, then you’re not leading. It’s as simple as that!
Technical skills are a ten a penny, but the ability to inspire, motivate and lead are rare. Anyone who focuses on developing these qualities will improve their leadership capabilities and stand out from the crowd.
If you’d like to talk about how you can make the move from being a good manager to a great leader, click the link and choose a time to talk.