Often when we think of a leader, we think of someone in a position of authority and although this may be true, the qualities of a strong leader go far beyond telling others what to do.
A quality leader is needed in our political offices, in our workplaces, in our schools, and even in our homes. But what does that actually look like? What makes a leader a great one, someone who others want to learn from and emulate? Let’s examine some of the qualities of a strong leader that are needed, especially in today’s world.
A great leader will try to exude positivity even when negative situations arise. There is no doubt that any business or agency will encounter bumps along the way but with continued positivity, people can be kept motivated to keep moving forward, instead of wanting to become stagnant or even quit their jobs.
If a person in a leadership role focuses on the obstacles that are being faced, it will inevitably be felt by the others. Negativity breeds negativity.
I can honestly say I have never had someone say that they prefer to deal with people who are dishonest. No one wants to be lied to, even if the truth stings a bit. A true leader will be honest with their words and their actions.
That being said, there is also a way to deliver information that is not necessarily easy to accept, especially if you truly want your workers to respect what you say and do. Building a rapport with individuals is critical, in my opinion, if you are going to be straight up and honest. If they know that you legitimately care about them, they also know that your criticism is meant as a tool for improvement.
One of the important qualities of a strong leader is effective communication – the keyword being effective. A great leader will communicate her vision to her workers but also check to see for full and complete understanding. With that, if the employee does not demonstrate adequate comprehension or it is not up to the appropriate standards, it needs to be explained again and perhaps in a different way.
Communication is not just a matter of delivering information but also demonstrating a willingness to listen. Employees need to feel that they are being heard by those who lead them.
Most agencies and companies have a set of rules and policies that they abide by strictly and without much wiggle room. The issue with this is that within your agency and company is a group of people, not robots.
Individuals are complex and unique. As a result, a true leader will recognize that and act accordingly, with discretion. This demonstrates that he values his employees as worthwhile contributors to the team.
As different situations arise, there is a need to sometimes “think outside the box”, as opposed to doing something because “that is how it has always been done.” A productive leader will be able to think creatively to come up with alternate solutions. She will also be willing to accept new and interesting ideas from her team members.
Many people will state that a good leader should be able to perform any of the tasks that are expected of his team. Although in theory, this sounds like a reasonable expectation, it is not realistically feasible. One of the most important qualities of a strong leader is being able to recognize that each team member brings forth a unique skill set and knowledge base to the table.
It is important to discover what each person is especially apt at doing and capitalize on that. Generally, when someone is proficient at something it also means they have a keen interest in it as well. With that, will come a greater investment in the task at hand. (Keep in mind, that just because someone doesn’t necessarily “enjoy” a task doesn’t mean they should be exempt from it!)
A competent leader will radiate confidence and assure his team that despite inevitable obstacles, the goal can still be reached. Just like negative vibes attract more negativity, doubt can create a sense of distrust in the company.
Stopping self-sabotaging behaviour within oneself and fellow workers is essential if common goals are going to be achieved.
When a leader puts himself above his workers, resentment and a lack of motivation and even trust can begin to develop. However, if he clearly shows that he can work alongside his team and contribute at the grassroots level, they will see him as a person who is invested and committed to the team’s goals.
It can drive members through difficult times and help to create stronger group dynamics. A group is always stronger when working together versus working in isolation. Everyone needs to feel that they are working towards a common goal if they are to be successful as a whole.
The day-to-day routine of any job can be cumbersome and well, let’s be honest – quite boring and even dreadful. However, it sometimes is the nature of the beast and certain things just need to be done.
It is the role of a great leader to keep his workers inspired and motivated. Often acknowledging the hard work of your employees so that they can see that what they do on a regular basis is appreciated and doesn’t go unnoticed can go a very long way in maintaining staff morale.
#10. Individual Approach
As I mentioned previously, each team member is unique and thus has unique needs. When a leader is able to recognize this important point, she can then approach each person accordingly.
For instance, some people are capable of performing tasks after a simple verbal explanation while others need it broken down into individual steps and written down. This may seem like a very simplistic example but it could mean the difference between getting the job done well and efficiently and perhaps not being completed at all.
Strong leaders will not only recognize what each team member needs but will also ask them. It is amazing what a person can find out if the right questions are asked. Demonstrating a clear vested interest in your people shows them that you appreciate them and what they do. Appreciated people will always do more than what is expected of them.
Paying attention to the needs of your workers is crucial to a well-run organization, no matter how big or small. Providing opportunities for self-care can help to rejuvenate everyone involved, creating more productivity in the long run.
The qualities of a strong leader are numerous but essential to the efficacy of any organization or business. It is his job to be a role model for his team members, demonstrating the skills and behaviours he would expect of the individuals.