An effective leader can inspire and motivate the whole team. Instead of demanding work from your department, you will see them valuing cooperation with you. But before this happens, you need to spend days practicing not only managerial techniques but controlling your own behavior and emotions. Self-awareness requires concentration and a critical approach, but learning leadership behavior and consistency will bring results. In this article, we will look closer at ten characteristics of a natural leader.
10 Features of an Effective Leader
Tell the truth
Leaders should be cultivating the atmosphere they want to see, and honesty seems to be the first standard to be set in your team. Don't hide the truth from your employees, even in detail. And always do what you promise or, in extraordinary cases, explain why you cannot do as you said.
Be open to dialogue
Let people trust you and, once they need to talk to you, give them such an opportunity. Even if your schedule is tight, don't ignore your employees, especially when they come with personal requests. During the conversation, listen to your team members attentively, ask questions, and be positive.
But to encourage your co-workers to trust you, you need to demonstrate a loyal and equitable attitude to everyone. Arrange regular (though not frequent) team meetings to communicate current situations with managers and listen to their brief reports. Avoid raising your voice at your subordinates, as this can discourage them from speaking.
When you want to praise an employee, do that in public. But if you’re going to discuss his performance issues, do that privately. No one likes to feel embarrassed in front of colleagues, and your authority will only lose points after such punishment. A good leader should create a positive aura when talking about negative things. This requires focusing on what you expect from people, figuring out objective reasons for their failure, and ways to fix it.
The primary function of a leader is making decisions. And often, these have to be made quickly and without hesitation. Even if you doubt (we all are humans), ask your team for an opinion or consult with someone you rely on, but never look indecisive. Your team needs to be sure of you and know that you can take responsibility for high-level decisions. And do that confidently.
Be an example
You are the image of your team, like an ideal that everyone will look at and tend to be. This approach is equally applicable to personal and professional traits, so you always need to monitor your behavior and expressions.
Also, remember about applying the same standards to the whole team, including you. Since delegating is essential for leaders, you can pass to your staff lots of tasks. But if they have to stay late to accomplish your assignment, stay with them –– at least to show solidarity.
Incorporate new visions
Effective leadership style is not something that you wake up with one day. You will have to do the hard work of transformation every single day. In addition to learning more professional studies and approaches, you need to educate yourself on the psychology of leadership. Your co-workers will expect some industry or task-related recommendation, and sometimes they may require personal advice too. Be ready to provide them with both.
Connect with people of various statuses and from multiple industries –– inside and outside your organization, encourage them to share some experience, ask questions, listen to the challenges they faced and how they managed to survive. And –– try to incorporate new vision, perception, reactions, and behaviors into your life as a leader.
But take one step at a time, adapting to new patterns one by one –– don't try to be a rockstar in a week. If you are consistent, results will follow.
Detect potential problems
Interact closely with your team to know the current situation and forecast possible issues before they become problems. If you see that your department will possibly miss the deadline, ask how this can be helped — maybe some routine work will be delegated to other employees or even be automated. Be proactive and take action to prevent failures.
Implement reward programs
When you appreciate your team members even in words, they get motivated — and often without money. But implementing rewards for complying with the set metrics is a good idea — this way, you can set goals and track their achievement. Assign two types of objectives to each employee: general and personal, then set periods for reviewing, correcting, and evaluating results. With time, your subordinates will even compete to be the best worker of the month.
Apply individual approaches
With being attentive to the professional atmosphere in your team, understand the personal traits of each worker. Maybe someone doesn't require a lot of supervision and can perfectly organize his work without your monitoring. At the same time, other employees may need more assistance, advice, and support while performing their duties. And when you apply this tactic to work-related tasks, try also being attentive to personal matters. If you show tolerance and involvement, people will thank you with loyalty and respect to you and team tasks. Consequently, job satisfaction will grow.
Encourage new ideas
You can be experienced and creative, but your employees see the situation from the inside. Often they better understand how their work can be optimized and propose valuable solutions. It's not necessary to implement those ideas immediately or in the same form they are offered. At least you will be aware of an issue or problem and be equipped with a solution. So keep your doors open to welcome analysts and specialists with their ideas.
An effective leader can be a great example and motivator, while inspired employees can boost the company's growth and revenue. Leadership behavior is crucial for improving a team’s productivity, decreasing employee rotation, and growing new managers. Directors can implement these leadership tactics to help the organization reach its short and long-term goals.