Leadership is to serve – leadership traits of effective leaders

Posted by Roxanne Chugg

Being a leader with the traits that your team respect and aspire to is an important factor in being an effective leader and developing a high performing team …. Being emotionally intelligent and understanding where your strengths and opportunities are and working on personal development to enhance these is a critical factor in your success as a leader and the success of your team. Consider these traits…..

Empathy - Effective leaders praise in public and address problems in private. Effective leaders have a genuine concern for their people; they guide their people through challenges, foster a solutions and no blame mentality with a focus on looking to the future.

Optimism – Effective leaders are a source of positive energy. They communicate well and easily. They are approachable and helpful.  They know how to inspire and create enthusiasm.  They avoid personal criticism and pessimistic thinking, and look for ways to gain consensus and get people to work together efficiently and effectively as a team.

Awareness  - Effective leaders conduct themselves in a way that sets them apart from their employees; not in a way that suggests they are better than others; but in a way that allows them to retain an objective perspective on everything that is going on within their team.

Decisiveness – Effective leaders make the hard decisions for the greater good; they understand that difficult decisions must be made in the best interests of the entire team, and that not everyone will be happy.  The most effective leaders know when to make the decisions themselves and when to collaborate with their team to make decisions.

Accountability – Effective leaders take responsibility for everyone's performance, including their own. They follow up on all outstanding issues, check in on employees, and monitor the effectiveness of organisational policies and procedures and the affect these have on their people. When things are going well, they praise. When problems arise, they identify them quickly, seek solutions, and get things back on track.
Confidence – Effective leaders emit a confidence and their people are naturally drawn to them, seek their advice, and feel more confident as a result. When challenged, they don’t give in too easily, because they know their ideas, opinions and strategies are well researched and informed.  When proven wrong they take responsibility and quickly act to improve the situations within their authority.

Honesty - Effective leaders treat people how they want to be treated. They are ethical and believe that honesty, effort, and reliability form the foundation of success. They embody these values so overtly that no employee doubts their integrity for a minute. They share information openly and avoid the spin.

Focus - Effective leaders plan ahead to achieve the vision and achieve desired outcomes. They are well organised and think holistically. They think through different scenarios and the impacts of their decisions and any changes made.  Once prepared, they establish processes and routines so that high performance is defined, monitored and demonstrable. They communicate their plans to key players and have contingency plans in the event last-minute changes require a new direction.  They are able to take people along with them when making change.

Inspiration – Finally, effective leaders communicate clearly, concisely, and often, they listen well and by doing so motivate everyone to give their best all the time.They challenge their people by setting high but attainable standards and expectations, and then giving them the resources to pursue those goals, achieve organisational outcomes and become the best employees they can be.

How well do you role model these traits?  Where are your opportunities for improvement?