8 Traits of Successful Leaders

Leadership is a tricky skill. It’s simple to shout and expect others to listen, but what makes a leader truly worth following? As you advance in your career, it’s important to remember that leadership is about so much more than being the loudest person in the room – it’s a difficult but invaluable skill, one that requires much versatility and tact. Whether you’re already a senior manager, or looking to become one, anyone can benefit from mastering these 8 traits of successful leaders.

8 Traits of Successful Leaders

1. Transparent Communication

The hierarchical concept of traditional management sometimes leads to misunderstandings or failures in communication. With so many important details, facts and figures to remember, it only makes sense that some announcements may slip through the cracks. But make a concentrated effort to communicate all necessary and relevant information to your team as transparently and quickly as possible. By establishing an open dialogue with your coworkers, you can gain their trust and establish a reputation as a fair and accessible supervisor. The more information you can provide, and the more transparent you are with your employees, the better your relationship will become.

2. Organization

It’s only to be expected that team leaders will have to juggle several projects at once. But if your team members constantly see a manager seated at a desk buried in papers, stressed and confused about every project, they’ll quickly lose faith in your leadership skills. Stay on top of deadlines and due dates, stay organized, and stay informed on all of your current tasks.

3. Respect

The relationship between a superior and an employee can be tenuous, but mutual respect is the keystone of healthy interactions in the workplace. To be a good leader, it’s imperative that you demonstrate respect for your employees – listen to their feedback and concerns, make time for meetings and allow them to speak their mind. By acknowledging their opinions as valuable, you foster an environment of openness.

4. Empathy

As a leader, it’s important to remember to look at your fellow team mates as individuals with complex lives and histories, rather than simply “coworkers.” Rather than rushing to scold a colleague who turns in a document late, take the time to check in and see if any outside factors may have gotten in the way. Before reprimanding a new employee who makes a mistake on a crucial project, remember the learning curve, and be understanding of the situation. By working to build a closer and more understanding relationship with your team, you’ll create a more positive work environment.

5. Motivation

On dreadfully boring Tuesday afternoons, a week before the end of the first sales quarter, who will your employees look to for an extra push? Motivation is a key component of leadership, and the energy required to push forward and improve, to achieve goals and reach targets, should be coming directly from a supervisor – from you. Can you inspire your team to work harder, longer, faster, to get your company where it needs to go?

6. Ambition

A talented leader should always be looking a few steps ahead, both in terms of the company’s larger goals, as well as his own career mobility. Do you have a list of goals? Have you mapped out where you’d like to be in the short term (6 months to 1 year), mid-term (1-3 years), and long term (5-10 years)? What about where the company is headed? Figure out a personal success plan and keep it updated. Your workplace and employees will benefit from following a leader who knows where she wants to be, and how she plans on getting there.

7. Optimism

So your sales force is closing in on the month’s projection, but they’re still missing a few big clients. Rather than criticizing their best efforts and lowering morale, a good leader should focus on optimism, and making the best out of the situation. Nobody wants to follow their supervisor into doom and gloom. Work to inspire your colleagues, show them that you believe in them, and the success will follow.

8. Patience

Every team has members with varied strengths and skill levels. It’s natural that some colleagues may be gifted with numbers, while others are word-oriented. Some will quickly pick up a new strategy or concept, and others require a more detailed and in-depth explanation. While it can be easy to lose your patience when trying to handle one team with several different speeds and learning styles, remember to take a deep breath and refocus on the task at hand.

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