When we talk about leadership, most people tend to immediately think about well-known CEOs and entrepreneurs. Regardless whether the world knows your name or not when you’re a leader, you will have a lot of responsibility. That will require a specific set of skills to be successful.
Those who lead teams, whether in business, at schools, in government departments, at not-for-profits etc., have a massive impact on the success of organizations and on the working lives of those who are part of them. If you’re keen to become a leader and create results and lasting change, you must develop certain personality traits which will help you to succeed. Read on for some of the most important characteristics leaders always demonstrate.
A Willingness to Continually Learn
For starters, when you listen to interviews with leaders who have been successful for decades, you’ll notice that they regularly talk about their interest in learning. People who get the best results don’t rest on their laurels; instead, they’re always looking for ways to expand their skill set and grow in other areas.
As such, be on the lookout for opportunities to continually learn during your career. Note that learning can take many forms. For example, if you’re in the educational sector, you might like to enrol in an online Master’s degree in Educational Administration to take your knowledge to the next level; while if you’re keen to run your own business, you could study an MBA degree instead.
Alternatively, there are always plenty of short courses you can sign up for, particularly those on specific subject matters. You may choose to attend lectures and other talks; check out forums and online blogs; read books, magazines, newsletters, e-books, and white papers; or join business associations and other clubs where you can learn from those around you. Mentoring is really helpful too, as is attending key industry events such as conferences and trade shows.
Top CEOs and other leaders are also good at keeping an open mind when it comes to their working life. Rather than making a snap decision about things all the time, or believing they’re always right, they are happy to consider all options and listen to the opinions of others.
By developing this kind of mindset, you will be much more likely to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. You will become a flexible manager, too, who is better in showing empathy because of your ability to be open to different ways of thinking and being.
Adaptability is incredibly important for leaders too. After all, no matter what level you’re at, how experienced you are, or what industry you’re in, you will find things often don’t go as expected. You can’t control everything, and when people change their minds, legalities are altered, or crises pop up, you have to be able to “roll with the punches” and change plans as necessary.
When you’re adaptable, you will also be going to be better at keeping up the pace with new trends and tech developments. This will ensure your organization isn’t left behind by competitors, as you’ll be providing the products and services people want when they want them.
The focus is a skill needed by leaders in all fields. When you’re the head of an organization, you must be able to stay zoned in on goals, values and missions. You need to ensure you don’t constantly get distracted by other things and people, and end up wasting resources on unimportant areas as a result.
The focus will help you to be much more productive, and your methods are sure to rub off on your team to boot. Focused leaders are also better at noticing risks sooner; at cutting costs; streamlining processes; and becoming an expert in their field.
Something else that can be underrated when it comes to leadership is confidence. While no one likes an arrogant boss, it is necessary for leaders to show they’re confident in their teams, and that they’re confident about the decisions they make and the direction they take their organizations in.
Confident managers help to make employees feel more settled, and they’re better at generating interest from top job candidates. Of course, you also need to show confidence in your brand, products or services when you talk about your venture to potential investors, lenders, partners, customers, suppliers and others.
To be a successful leader, don’t forget about developing your interpersonal skills either. You need a high level of emotional intelligence and good communication skills to listen and talk to people from all walks of life effectively. Negotiation is important too, as is the ability to foster healthy relationships; collaborate with others; delegate well, and resolve the conflict.
This article is contributed by Tiffany Rowe, writer of seekvisibility.com.