So you want to effectively lead a team. What are the traits that will help you be successful as a leader that people love working with? There are some basic traits that are common it great leaders.
You have to demonstrate true passion to inspire your team. Your team is probably capable of extraordinary accomplishments if they are shown the passion to do what might seem impossible. To build an truly extraordinary team, you’ve got to use your passion to inspire them to feel passion about the company they work for and to connect to the leader’s vision. Your passion is such an important part of being a great leader that if you don’t have it, you can’t be a great leader.
When you talk about your vision for the direction of the company or your department, let your passion for your vision shine through and inspire your team.
You have to stand for something in our life. Standing firm when it comes to your company’s policies and procedures is good, but it doesn’t speak to having a vision as a leader. As a great leader, you have to learn to convey your vision or the vision of your company to all the people you want to follow you. But how can you do communicate that vision?
- Learn to expressive with your thoughts using words to paint a picture of your vision. Write and speak about your vision in an consistent and honest way, every single day to every single person.
- If the vision changes, make sure the team understands the change and are involved in the process.
- Ask each member of your team to tell you, using their own words, what they think the overall vision of the company is and how they fit into that vision. This is a sure way to verify the team on the same page as you.
- Your vision should be something that you talk about frequently and openly. There is no mystery to your vision and what it means.
- Listen to the team if they ask questions or if they have concerns about the vision. If one person is concerned enough to ask questions, others may have questions and aren’t comfortable in speaking up about those concerns.
You have to be willing to make decisions and provide the direction your team needs. Your team has to have confidence that you will make the correct decisions that lead the team forward. Even if it isn’t a great decision, you have to be seen as a decision maker and someone who will acknowledge your mistakes. The only person to have never made a mistake is the person who has never made a decision. You need to formulate a decision making process that works in your environment, helps the team feel involved in the decision, and generates decisions that the team feels comfortable in supporting.
Make sure your decisions are made quickly, are thoughtful, based on facts and not emotion, and are decisions that you are committed to supporting. Your team must feel comfortable that you aren’t going to change your mind every couple of hours or days. They should feel comfortable that your decisions are based on thoughtful consideration and not raw emotion.
A great team is an obvious indicator of a great leader. Delegation of responsibility is the first step in building a team that feels empowered and in control of their actions. Don’t look over their shoulders and don’t micro-manage, but make yourself available if problems come up or questions need to be addressed. Teach your team how to be leaders, and mentor them to use established leadership traits to become a leader of their own teams.
Be strong and support your team at all times. Even if they fall behind schedule on a project or make silly mistakes, offer assistance and be the source of ideas that enables the team to fix their own problems. Be seen as a person with solutions or assistance, not the guy who scolds failure or points the finger of blame.
A great leader does what needs to be done, even if it is uncomfortable. Evaluate your leadership style and verify you are comfortable with those character traits as it applies to how you lead your team. Are you a perfectionist, a procrastinator, a poor communicator, etc. What are your strengths or weaknesses? You have to do a personal inventory and identify what you are good at and what you aren’t so good at, then attack your weaknesses as you would any other professional assignment. Be honest to yourself and to your team. No person is perfect, and you should recognize your flaws.
Are you a manager, a great leader, or do you want to become a better person? You must develop a clear vision of what you want your team to accomplish, communicate that vision with passion, make good decisions that inspire the team to do a better job, while you inspire the team to become better at what they do well. You must do all this while not over managing their efforts or even standing in their way of true success. Your strength of character must also help guide your team to success in good times and bad times, without faltering from the original vision. And you should be continually evaluating your own character and never stop growing, personally or professionally.
If you can apply the five traits of great leadership, you’ll soon be a great leader surrounded by great employees that will one day also be great leaders themselves.