Essential Leadership Traits

Essential Leadership Traits

Leadership is not everyone’s cup of tea. An individual might be brilliant and accomplished but this does not necessarily translate into him becoming a great leader. To be a great leader, certain leadership traits are required, a few of which are detailed below.

Self-Awareness:

Self-awareness means being able to make an honest assessment of oneself without judging it as right or wrong.

  • A leader needs to be self-aware because his actions affect and influence a lot of people.
  • A self-aware leader understands his strengths and shortcomings. Because of that, he is able to guide others in his area of expertise while welcoming help in areas where he himself needs to improve.
  • No one is good at everything. We are all human and each one of us has our own weaknesses. By acknowledging this in himself, a leader sends a positive and reassuring message to his employees.
  • The trust employees have in their leader increases as they see his honesty in his ability to admit and improve his weaknesses.
  • When a leader is self-aware, he promotes an atmosphere of growth either by being a mentor himself or by facilitating workshops that will benefit his employees.
  • With self-awareness also comes the ability to make better decisions.
  • A leader who is self-aware knows his goals and is capable of aligning them with the organization’s goals. This will indirectly lead to better growth policies and strategies.

Emotional Agility:

  • Often, people are told to focus on building a positive atmosphere. Especially leaders are expected to radiate positivity and enthusiasm at all times.
  • Any doubt or negativity is to be quickly shut down and suppressed – a belief that a happy atmosphere prevails is to be highlighted.
  • But this goes against our basic nature. We all experience both positive and negative thoughts – happiness, excitement and courage co-exist with apprehension, uncertainty and confusion.
  • Acknowledging and accepting these negative emotions is the first step in dealing with them. This is what is referred to as being emotionally agile.
  • Emotionally agile leaders set the tone for appropriate expression of emotions in an organization.
  • When employees see their leader being emotionally agile, they emulate it and the atmosphere at the organization improves.
  • This is because unspoken emotions only lead to unhealthy build-up of negative emotions which translates into discontent, gossiping and unhappiness.
  • An emotionally agile leader understands that forced positivity accomplishes nothing and instead acknowledges uncomfortable emotions to promote growth in the long run.

Leading Several Generations at Work:

  • Ordinarily itself, a workplace is made up of employees from diverse backgrounds and this itself can be a point of conflict.
  • Adding people from different generations to this, only complicates things further.
  • While getting the best out of this multi-generational work force can be challenging, it is not impossible.
  • The first step towards managing this lies in understanding that one method of managing all the employees does not work.
  • Every generation is motivated by different factors – for example, the younger generation might value time off from work as a reward while the older generation might be motivated by monetary incentives.
  • Recognizing this and acting accordingly helps get the best out of them.
  • Most of the time, conflict arise between the different generations not because of the age difference but because of the difference in values.
  • A leader who is looking to promote unity in such a workforce will help them appreciate the diverse view-points they bring in.
  • An open dialogue by the leader acknowledging the positives each generation brings in will not only make them feel appreciated but will help the rest of the employees realize everyone’s contribution and will also help them learn from each other’s strengths.
  • It is also important that the leader stays neutral and does not unconsciously support the generation to which he belongs.

Relationship Management:

  • An essential leadership skill, smart leaders know how to manage relationships.
  • This helps them to influence their employees and align them with the goals of the organization.
  • Managing relationships is a continuous process which needs to be worked on every day.

Given below are some simple pointers which can effectively improve relationships both inside an organization and outside of it.

  • Work on your listening skills. Pay attention when people talk to you. Be empathetic when you state your views.
  • Show your interest in what others are saying by asking questions.
  • Communicate clearly without offending anyone’s feelings.
  • Provide honest feedback and praise a job well done. Also be open to receiving feedback from others.

Change Management:

  • This is another essential skill which helps manage challenging situations effectively.
  • We live in an ever-changing world with change being the only constant.
  • To stay relevant, we need to change ourselves.
  • While the pandemic clearly demonstrated the need to adapt and innovate to respond to change, small changes too are constantly happening every day.
  • Every employee of the organization is affected by change and plays a role in managing change, be it a senior executive or someone who is just starting at the organization.
  • Without proper guidance by the leader on navigating change, employees might start to feel insecure and this will show in their productivity.
  • As a leader, you should make sure that the change which is happening is acknowledged.
  • Be frank with your employees and let them know what is happening.
  • Make sure you communicate clearly and offer your help with the change.
  • Leading the way thoughtfully will earn the trust of the employees.

Creativity:

  • Leadership to tackle change involves creativity.
  • Coming up with original solutions when faced with changes is essential for the organization to move forward.
  • When this happens, the change stops being a challenge and becomes a vehicle for growth instead.
  • Creativity however is not restricted to just dealing with change.
  • A creative leader can change what is already good to something even better.
  • He has a desire to contribute not just to the betterment of the organization, but to the society as a whole.
  • Growth never stops and for a creative leader, the sky is the limit.

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