Traits of effective leaders

Posted by Roxanne Chugg

Think of a leader you admire… what do you admire most about them?  Is it the way they are able to create a compelling vision?  Is it the way they handle difficult situations?  Is it their communication skills?

In my experience, effective leader’s demonstrate strong interpersonal skills and are able to:

  1. Actively listen
  2. Define clear goals to work towards
  3. Encourage development of mutual respect
  4. Ensure an individual’s contributions are valued
  5. Clearly express the culture of the organisation in an inspirational way
  6. Engender good two-way dialogue
  7. Identify an individuals’ capabilities and builds on them
  8. Delegates work clearly and appropriately
  9. Proactively seeks and gives constructive feedback
  10. Acknowledge and celebrates an individual’s successes
  11. Effectively addresses questions and concerns
  12. Articulate a compelling vision and purpose for team and business
  13. Focus 100% on an individual when meeting one-on-one
  14. Keeps an individual appropriately informed
  15. Role models the organisation’s values

Take a look at each of these basic interpersonal skills and see how they contribute to the making of an effective leader:

Communication skills: Many leaders are eloquent speakers. It is all about articulating their ideas in a meaningful way, both in written and verbal form to ensure the message gets through.

Facilitating skills: Effective leaders liaise with team-members and arrive at the best possible solution. There could be diverse ideas and perspectives for any single agenda, but an effective leader will work towards reaching a consensus.  Their approach is collaborative.

Leadership skills: Effective leaders inspire others to accomplish the goals planned with commitment and dedication.   They help others to see the future and work towards that.

Mentoring skills: They provide constructive feedback and guidance wisely as and when required; so in a timely manner.  They don’t let things fester but have difficult conversations to work through issues. This helps people in recovering from any hurdle or challenge.

Negotiation skills:  Resolve any such conflict by agreeing to the terms which are acceptable to both parties. Think of a win-win situation, create and maintain a cordial relationship among others.

Influence and Motivation skills: Using a combination of both communication skills and leadership skills, effective leaders influence, persuade and motivate others.

Decision making skills: An effective leader has to make countless decisions based on the best available information.  They don’t procrastinate over hard decisions.

Planning: An effective leader takes certain strategic decision about the future. They align everyone to work in the same direction, developing plans to achieve the overall vision and goals.

Integrity: An effective leader builds trust, fosters collaboration and facilitates sharing of information. In this way, an effective leader creates a solid team who supports each other’s views.

Team work: Cooperating with fellow members while nurturing their aspirations is a trait of an effective leader. Through team work, a leader develops a sense of collaboration while working with his peers and subordinates.

Stress management: A leader manages stress effectively and has high emotional intelligence.