The importance of good leadership to a business
All successful organisations,businesses and institutions need effective leaders. The leadership of effective and well learned leaders is pivotal to providing an agreed upon goal for the company’s success.
Leaders are invaluable when it comes to formulating and communicating new strategic directions, as well as communicating with and motivating employees to increase dedication to organizational goals.
Ongoing leadership skills training is essential to making sure that leaders are on the right track.
The qualities of a good leader
Concentrate on the goal
Competition amongst businesses today is like a horse race. A good leader, like a racehorse, must have their blinkers on to run with laser-like focus towards the goal. There will always be distractions and personal dilemmas that leaders face.
In order to be effective at managing organisations amidst all the hectic activity, you need to have a laser-like focus. Effective leadership is knowing how to prioritize the most important tasks.
One of the most important characteristics of a business leader is self-awareness, and the ability to understand your own strengths and weaknesses.
Very often, you see leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs that make the mistake of going to great lengths to cover up their weaknesses–instead of addressing them openly so an effective solution can be found, or worse they aren’t aware of what their weaknesses are at all, and instead play entirely to their strengths.
Over time, this leaves them vulnerable, and their business often suffers as a result.
A confident leader gives the organisation confidence that the business is in good hands. Leaders make tough decisions day in and day out and there is always room for self-doubt. When you have to juggle so many things at once, you have to trust yourself that you are in that position because you are capable of the responsibilities that position comes with.
Clear vision is a leadership trait linked with laser-like focus: it should be its precedent. In order for a leader to have laser-like focus on a goal, they need to have a clear vision of it. Clear vision means you understand what you want to achieve, its purpose, you know the facts and you understand its impact.
A leader with clarity of vision can also formulate clear plans and will be able to give clear directions, feedback and corrections if and when necessary. When their team members see that their leader is clear about what they want to achieve, it will be easier for them to grasp the vision knowing that their leader can offer clarification.
Humility is one of the leadership qualities that cannot be faked. The statement “humility makes an effective leader” is the truest of maxims. This leadership trait should be a prerequisite to being given a position in leadership.
Lazlo Black, a Senior Vice President for Google says he looks for not just humility but intellectual humility in people he hires. He further points out that you cannot learn without humility.
Humble leadership is really about focusing on people and letting them know that you are there to support them in reaching their goals. Also known as servant leadership, this leadership style helps team members think for themselves and contribute their own ideas, because you are teaching them stewardship and independence. Humility does not mean being weak and voiceless, it actually means you have enough confidence in your leadership that you uplift your team members so they can grow.
Strong Communication Skills
Strong communication skills may be one of the leadership qualities that can benefit most from a leadership development program.
Most leaders are “made” and not “born”, and strong communication skills can definitely be learned. Traditional office communication has come a long way from office memos, organisational charts and bulletin boards for employees to peruse. With almost everything communicated digitally, executives need to reach out to their employees in a way that will speak to the new generation of workers. E-mails, tweets, social media and e-chat are some of these digital communication tools suitable for employees from the new generation.
The way communication changes with technological advances, leaders must continually learn new ways to connect with their employees. Once a leader develops strong communication skills, it will be a leadership trait that will benefit them in so many ways in and out of the workplace.
In order to encourage your employees to be great team players, you have to be a team player yourself. This leadership trait is essential in every organisation. Some organisations are very strict about their leaders socialising with other employees, because they believe that familiarity may blur the line of the supervisor-subordinate relationship.
Leaders who believe that they have to alienate themselves from their teams are actually the ones creating this blur. It could be described as a gap between themselves and their team members.
This gap could be the reason that their team cannot work cohesively. We have previously mentioned the servant leadership style as a leadership trait every leader should have. Being a team player is closely related to being a humble leader. Leaders who are team players are not afraid to show themselves as part of the team. This behavior is respected by employees.
Honesty & Transparency
In an executive position, there is certain information that should be treated confidentially. However, you need to be honest and transparent to your subordinates about the level of information you are allowed to divulge. For certain information you need to find the right time, place and manner to deliver messages honestly.
What honesty and transparency as a leadership trait means is that you are perceived as reliable. To be an effective leader, you need to appear reliable to your employees. They will trust you more when you follow through with your promises. Delivering difficult messages to your subordinates is part of a leader’s responsibility. You must give feedback honestly, clearly, constructively and in a professional manner. It is important not to sugarcoat these messages because they may become misconstrued and cause confusion.