6 Characteristics of an Effective Leader

Posted: April 15th, 2014 | Author: Dan Zimanski

If you were asked to list all the characteristics that great leaders possess, chances are it would be a very long list.

There are a wide variety of leadership styles, and what works for one person may not work for another. Just as an example, you may be comfortable exercising a great deal of control over your work force, or you could be highly averse to micro-managing.

Techniques notwithstanding, there are some characteristics that are common to virtually every type of leader.

1. A Good Leader is Honest

When you have the responsibility of managing a team, the standards that you set are the standards to which your people will aspire. An effective leader is honest with his team, both because it’s the right thing to do, and because if he or she is deceptive, then the trust the team has in the leader is irrevocably broken.

Also, you can’t expect people to deal honorably with you if you’re not straightforward in your dealings with them. It’s important to set high standards for yourself and for others.

2. Effective Communication Means Effective Leadership

There are few things more frustrating than trying to deal with a person who’s not stating their position clearly. In order to have a productive work environment, it’s essential that you communicate effectively with your team. You need to get your vision of what needs to be done across to them in a way that they can understand and act upon. If you can’t do that, then you can assume that very little is going to actually be accomplished. Good leaders are available to communicate concepts clearly and concisely.

3. Effective Leaders are Confident

An effective leader is confident in his or her ability. Even when circumstances are difficult, the confidence of the leader does not diminish – he or she doesn’t perceive roadblocks, just challenges that can be overcome.

Again, as with honesty, your team members are going to take their cue from you. If they see you as someone who can roll with the punches, they’ll do the same.

4. Effective Leaders are Committed

Whether you have a project at work that needs to be completed, or you’ve offered your time to someone outside of work, you stay the course. Even when the going gets tough, you forge ahead in pursuit of the best possible result. This level of commitment inspires respect in your team, and that’s vital, because a leader without respect is no leader at all.

5. Effective Leaders Sometimes Go With Their Gut

Leading is considerably easier when everything is going the way it’s supposed to. In any type of business, though, there are going to be times when things aren’t going according to plan. Your team looks to you for guidance in such situations, and you won’t always be a hundred percent sure of what should be done.

In a situation like that, a good leader frequently just goes with what their gut tells them. That tells your team that you have the confidence to take a chance on making a decision quickly – you know that most of the time, you’ll probably get it right. The trust you place in yourself will be reflected in the trust you get back from your team.

6. Effective Leaders Know When to Laugh

A sense of humor in the workplace is more important than most people realize. Cracking a joke once in a while with your team is beneficial to the overall morale.

Even more important, an effective leader knows how to laugh at his or her own mistakes – it makes for a healthier work environment.

These are just some characteristics of effective leaders. Obviously more goes into the leadership role, but these basic traits make for a well-rounded leader.

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