Effective leadership at work has never felt more important – particularly in the wake of COVID-19 and how it’s forever changed our professional lives. With more and more employees logging on from home, juggling numerous priorities and trying to maintain some kind of work-life balance, having a boss who understands how to lead, encourage and develop their team, can make all the difference. Whether you’re already in a managerial role or you’re simply looking to accelerate your professional growth this year, here are the top three qualities that make an excellent leader.
Stellar communication skills
All effective leaders have one thing in common and that’s their ability to actively listen and communicate with their staff or co-workers. Not only does this mean having a respectful and authentic dialog with those around you, but also being open to their feedback and opinions. In leadership positions, you often gain more from listening than talking all the time. In embracing this approach, you’ll make the workplace feel like a safe and encouraging space, where thoughts can be shared, ideas can be nurtured, and discussions can be had. Given the current environment, many leaders also need to be able to use their communication skills to inspire and motivate teams despite not being physically present. Through an open communication strategy, you’ll be able to encourage others to do their best as individuals while still embracing teamwork (even on those WFH days). For you personally, this may also require you to be more transparent in the way you speak to and address your team. If you’ve made a mistake, own it. If you need help with something, ask for it. If you have advice to impart, share it.
A knack for problem-solving
Being a leader isn’t just about working your way to the top and enjoying a new managerial title – it’s about incorporating your desire to guide and inspire with the ability to think creatively and inclusively no matter what the situation. Great leaders often understand the complex and nuanced nature of problem-solving at work, particularly when the issues at hand involve co-workers, clashing personalities or sensitive subjects. Your soft skills can make all the difference to your ability to thrive in your role as a leader and also provide great learning opportunities for your team members. By being agile in your thinking, self-aware in your approach and confident in delegating work, you will create the freedom to focus on solving problems in a way that works for you and your team.
An ability to separate ego from your role
Just because you’ve been placed into a leadership position that may be senior to your co-workers or employees – doesn’t mean you are better or superior to anyone else. The second you position yourself as someone who can rally and guide a team to greatness, as opposed to a manager who views their role as a status symbol, you’ll instantly make your job easier. As a leader, you’re not expected to always have all the answers, but you are expected to engage with your team members in a respectful and inclusive manner. Try to encourage the growth of those you have been tasked with managing and nurturing by being yourself. Confidence, enthusiasm and the ability to be present are all skills leaders can teach and share with each of their employees while leaving their ego at the door.
Importantly, all good leaders know when to step to the side and give their team members the freedom to grow and shine. In recognising the value of those you work with and by encouraging them to find their feet and expand their knowledge, you can help create the next batch of leaders within your workplace. After all – great leaders who create great leaders, create great leaders…