When you think of characteristics of a great leader, what comes to mind? It’s probably something like dedication, perseverance or charisma. Maybe it’s the ability to think of big ideas, or the ability to get people to follow.
All those things are great – and they certainly help make great leaders. But less flashy traits can have an even bigger impact, especially when it comes to leading businesses. They’re the kinds of traits you’ll find in successful CEOs, presidents, and team leaders.
Below, we’ve picked a list of five of the best traits that great leaders share. What traits do you think are important for leaders to have? Let us know in the comments!
1. They don’t micromanage
Effective leaders are usually bursting at the seams with great ideas, but that doesn’t mean it’s their way or the highway. When someone in charge micromanages those beneath them, they stifles creativity and prevent others from finding their own best way (or perhaps a different, better way ) of doing things.
In short, a great leader trusts her employees to do what’s right. How can they trust them? Because they take the time to hire talented people who are well-suited for their roles, and who they can trust to do the right thing. This environment of trust breeds great ideas – ones that don’t always come from the top, either.
2. They show their human side
No one wants to work for a cyborg. The best leaders are confident enough to show their human side. Most importantly, they have a sense of humor and aren’t afraid to share it with the people they’re in charge of.
They’re also empathetic, allowing them to relate to people from all walks of life, in all levels of their company. Finally, the best leaders show their human side by having a strong sense of humility. They got where they are by being great at what they do, but they don’t believe they’re better than anyone – let alone everyone.
3. They’re transparent
Imagine working for a boss who’s like the “man behind the curtain” from the Wizard of Oz. In fact, you may have had bosses like that in the past. Leaders who keep employees in the dark about how they do things and what they expect don’t tend to fare very well.
Great leaders are transparent. They understand that it’s in their best interests – and everyone else’s best interests – to be open and honest about their policies, their expectations and other matters important to the organization as a whole. When employees are confident in their boss, their organization and its mission, they’re more willing and eager to work hard for it.
4. They’re flexible
The best bosses and leaders focus a large part of their efforts on finding the very best talent. They then give that talent free reign (or as close to free reign as makes sense for their organization) to do things as they see fit – without imposing rigid regulations or crazy mandates.
Great leaders know that there’s not just one correct way to do things. They realize that some people work better by doing things differently. And they know that allowing employees to do things their own way is a great way to discover more effective techniques and methods. Flexibility breeds innovation, and innovation breeds success.
5. They accept responsibility
An effective leader doesn’t just hold employees accountable – they hold themselves accountable, too. Nothing is worse than working for someone who can never admit that they’ve dropped the ball or otherwise made a mistake. When employees see that their leader accepts responsibility, they’re more willing to do so themselves.
This is a lesson that’s applicable in multiple realms. Employees look to great leaders for guidance, so great leaders need to be the kind of employee they want to have. Do you want employees who are self-motivated, driven and passionate? Show them a leader who’s self-motivated, driven and passionate, too.
When it comes to being a great leader, ruling with an iron fist rarely works. Being flexible, transparent and willing to meet employees halfway tends to yield much better results – and fosters an environment that employees can and want to succeed in.
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