Ask any employee what the benchmarks of a good leader are and you’ll probably wind up with a handful of clichés, some standard characteristics and a few “outside the box” traits. Everything from exceptional communication skills to being brutally honest for the sake of the employee’s progress fall in line with being a followable leader.
Most people believe that some are born leaders while in fact most leaders are made. Organizations can cultivate their next generation of leaders with a strong training program.
Three key qualities of an effective leader
Leaders with strong character earn the respect of their peers. Maybe that’s a cliché to some, but the hidden advantages of strong character for leaders is the ability to be trusted through thick and thin. Employees respond better to praise, pressure, and criticism from their superiors when they have the utmost respect for them to begin with. More importantly, employees are more engaged and respond to requests more quickly when they trust they're being led in the right direction.
Building character starts with defining your values. You need to learn from your past and evaluate the company you keep. Find opportunities to be nice, especially when tempted not to be nice. Practice humility and give back. These foundational concepts are explored in more detail in our series on "Developing Your Character."
Committed, Swift Decision Making
Effective leaders must have the intelligence, experience, and skills needed for making quick decisions when the situations arise. Some day-to-day decisions don't have a timeline that allows for days or months of information gathering, analysis, and generating options. The longer leaders ponder a decision, the more it hurts productivity. Employees sit and wait, unsure of when a revision or workaround will come, and if it does, there’s a good chance it will disrupt their flow of working on another project.
Great leaders are able to stick with their choices, and make those easy and tough decisions quickly. But getting to that comfort level can be hard at first. Training on the basics of decision making, strategic thinking, and identifying unintended consequences can be very helpful.
Available When You Need Them
If you're going to be a leader, you need followers. As a leader you need to set up an environment that encourages people to follow you. Make simple, conscientious efforts. Effective leaders make quality time for employees a priority. Be human. Win employees emotionally, win them logically.
We don't offer training on how to be human! We do offer many valuable leadership training courses to help you become a great leader.
Some great leaders are born; most new leaders need support and training. They will succeed (and fail) through trial and error until they’re seasoned, motivational, and inspiring authorities in their field. But truly great qualities like the ones above can have a positive ripple effect to others which can lead to higher employee morale and better productivity for your company down the line.
For more tips on building a great foundation as a leader, be sure to check out our most popular leadership courses on everything from motivational techniques to building an effective leadership team and more. Or you can sign up for a full-featured, full library trial of our Thinkzoom LMS. You will have two weeks to view all of our leadership training content and the full business skills library.