They need to know why the organization is pursuing the current strategies. They need their leader for guidance and to help remove any barriers they may experience along the way. Mostly, they need the assurance that their leader has confidence in their ability to perform and produce the desired outcomes.
An important quality of a good leader is their authenticity; their ability to remain true to themselves, their beliefs, and their values. In fact, the good leader doesn’t have to simply remain true to themselves, but they must also be able to transfer their values and beliefs to his/her team.
The best leaders walk the walk and talk the talk. As a result, group members admire these leaders and work to emulate these behaviors. If you want to become a better leader, work on modeling the qualities that you would like to see in your team members.
The transactional leader (Burns, 1978) is given power to perform certain tasks and reward or punish for the team’s performance. It gives the opportunity to the manager to lead the group and the group agrees to follow his lead to accomplish a predetermined goal in exchange for something else. Power is given to the leader to evaluate, correct, and train subordinates when productivity is not up to the desired level, and reward effectiveness when expected outcome is reached.
Every action you take speaks to who you are as a leader, and every expressed value demonstrates your beliefs. By establishing your values and standing up for your convictions, you let others know where you are. A leader’s values are like fingerprints: nobody’s are the same, and you leave them on everything you do.
But to read Archie Brown’s fascinating book, The Myth of the Strong Leader, is to see an illustration that leaders like Suárez, who served as prime minister of Spain from 1976 to 1981, possess leadership styles and capacities that are incredibly effective, and depressingly rare.
Remember that it is about the entire team. The greatest leaders saw their role to an end, and themselves, as an instrument of a deeper purpose; any glory, prestige, or wealth was a side effect rather than a motivation. After all, nothing would get done with just the efforts of one man. Or woman!
Good leaders develop productive teams, efficient systems and a positive corporate culture. But good leadership doesn’t just happen. Good leaders possess positive personal characteristics, such as integrity, dedication, vision, a sense of fairness and creativity. And good leaders know how to inspire the best in others by being good listeners and motivators. Although many leadership qualities are innate, born into a person, other qualities can be learned.
You should never expect others to do it for you, not even your partner, friend or boss. They are all busy with their own needs. No one will make you happy or achieve your goals for you. It’s all on you.
Unlike management, leadership cannot be taught, although it may be learned and enhanced through coaching or mentoring. Someone with great leadership skills today is Bill Gates who, despite early failures, with continued passion and innovation has driven Microsoft and the software industry to success.
A good manager needs to properly organize their team so their members’ new ideas can be turned into methods, protocols, or solutions. While a person with a high degree of domain expertise might be able to accomplish some of those feats on their own, without the motivational and organizational skills required to deal with other people, that person will likely not rise higher than their current position.
“Great leaders also hire and inspire other great leaders, whom they trust to carry out the company mission and instill a sense of purpose that touches each and every staff member,” added Tom Villante, co-founder, chairman and CEO of payment processing company YapStone.
“A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter — or to others — is not a nice person. Watch out for those with situational value systems — people who turn the charm on and off depending on the status of the person with whom they’re interacting. Those people may be good actors, but they don’t become good leaders.”
Motivate: There may not be a more important leadership trait than being a good motivator. When you can inspire, you can transform your team into a well-oiled machine. Raw talent is nice but when a team is motivated they can be unstoppable.
There are a few different leadership styles that you should be aware of. Your leadership style is how you’re being perceived, and since perception is often reality, it’s something you want to be mindful of.
The third – personal leadership – is an “inner” level and concerns a person’s growth toward greater leadership presence, knowhow and skill. Working on one’s personal leadership has three aspects: (1) Technical knowhow and skill (2) Developing the right attitude toward other people – which is the basis of servant leadership (3) Psychological self-mastery – the foundation for authentic leadership.
Personality theories of leadership identify five major leadership qualities, called the Big Five: conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness and extroversion, according to Michelle C. Bligh in “Personality Theories of Leadership.” However, according to Bligh, more specific research findings indicate that intelligence, self-confidence, determination, sociability and integrity are more consistent characteristics of a good leader.
A leader will then ensure that team members have the necessary skills and abilities to do their job and achieve the vision. They do this by giving and receiving feedback regularly, and by training and coaching people to improve individual and team performance.
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. – Michael Jordan
4. Do your fair share. Even though you’re the project leader, you still have to do some of the heavy lifting. Others will notice if you aren’t pitching in or continually push off unexpected and last-minute problems to someone else. You’ll exert the most influence when others see you working as hard – if not harder – than they are.
Gather as much information as you can. Listen. Study. Understand. Learn. Repeat. Humans are amazing creatures because we can look at the world, make intellectual connections, and use those connections to make our lives better (or potentially worse). This is what information allows us to do. Never turn your “learning switch” off. You never know when your flash insight will come!