There are lots of definitions of a good leader which tend to vary depending on the industry you are in, but the one factor all sectors will agree on is that the caliber of a leader can make the difference between success and failure. An effective leader is not someone who provokes fear or demands obedience; a leader is someone who brings out the best in their team and supports them as they work together towards a common goal. This is a vague description, so here are 7 more specific traits of an effective leader that separate the good leaders from the bad.
You cannot expect your team to be transparent and honest if you are not leading by example. The best leaders have a clear understanding of their values and beliefs and stick with them no matter what.
- Self-belief and confidence
Radiating confidence is essential when attempting to inspire it in others, but that does not mean you should be the loudest in the room at all times. Genuine confidence is an innate quality and is shown in your ability to be decisive.
A leader needs to be able to convince other people to follow them, even when times are tough. When the stress hits, you need to ensure you manage the situation with positivity and professionalism so others can follow your example. Keep calm when the pressure hits and turn your attention to motivating staff to overcome a challenge.
Oil and gas business leader and industry expert Roberto Casula is a fantastic example of professional resilience having begun his career as a reservoir engineer in 1988 and progressing to Chief Development, Operations and Technology officer for the Eni Foundation.
- Innovative and creative
One of the biggest differences between leaders and followers is that leaders will innovate and are able to think outside of the box to come up with a solution. They see the vision and stop at nothing to find the best possible way to turn it into a reality.
- Excellent communication skills
Leaders must be able to communicate their ideas and strategy to their team or they will struggle to achieve the results they need. Your words have the power to demotivate or motivate, so use them wisely.
- Capable of making tough decisions
Sometimes in business, tough decisions have to be made and it can involve taking a risk. When making these decisions a leader is under a profound amount of pressure with the livelihoods of many people on the line. Of course, a good leader should take the opinions of others into consideration, but they need to be able to bear the weight of the ultimate responsibility.
- Natural empathy
Leaders who dictate to employees with no regard for the opinions, experience or personal circumstances are unlikely to build a genuine relationship with your team. You need to understand your team on many levels to get their full commitment and loyalty, including making allowances for personal circumstances. When you need them to go the extra mile for the business, they will be more likely to return the favor.