Behind the world’s most successful businesses stand the leaders who turned dreams into reality. Every good leader will admit they didn’t do it alone. Without a loyal team, you’re walking a path to nowhere. Follow these must-have leadership traits and get started on the road to success.
If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will. Exude confidence in everything you do, even if you have to fake it. Harvard University Professor Amy Cuddy suggests “power posing” before a board meeting to increase confidence. In private, stand tall with your hands on your hips for two minutes. The goal is to cause your hormones to kick up so you feel empowered. Your body language will exude confidence, even if you’re not.
Ability to delegate
In a leadership position, you’re responsible for ongoing momentum. This requires you to weigh your responsibilities and only handle tasks critical to business growth. For example, if it’s imperative that you nail an investor presentation, don’t spend all day working on payroll. Transfer the task to someone else. If you don’t have administrative staff to help you manage your financials, use a payroll system like Intuit to handle it for you.
Think about your favorite coffee shop and what makes it so great. Maybe it’s the quality of their cappuccino or maybe it’s their friendly staff—but you can trust your expectations will be met, right? Consistent leaders earn loyalty from others by demonstrating that decisions and beliefs aren’t circumstantial.
A recent study by Forbes revealed that companies that scored in the top 20 percent for building a “recognition-rich culture” had 31 percent lower voluntary turnover rates. In addition to top-down recognition, peer-to-peer appreciation sparks motivation. A platform like Achievers helps build a recognition-based culture that visibly promotes and shares employee achievements.
Not to be confused with the ability to talk big, good communication is precise, forthright and honest. Successful leaders know how to effectively communicate within all levels of their organization. The consequences of information getting lost in translation could prove detrimental to your company. If your communication skills still have room for improvement, any of Inc.com’s six tips to talk like a leader will help you learn how to practice verbal discipline.
For some, the thought of making the wrong choice paralyzes the decision-making process. A leader can confidently lead the way. If decision-making is not your strength, try out some decision-making apps to help you with smaller, less life-altering decisions, like where to eat. It can help reduce the anxiety of making choices.
Leaders who actively accept feedback from employees prove the teams’ best interest is at heart. This skill can’t be forged. To be a good listener, one must actually care about the information being vocalized. Opening your ears opens doors to establishing trust and creating rapport. Try it out: Next time you ask someone a question, don’t think about what you’re going to say next. Simply listen to really hear what the other is saying. You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn from and about someone once you give them your undivided attention.
Anyone can point fingers at others; pointing them at yourself is what makes a good leader. Good or bad, accepting responsibility puts you in charge of the situation at hand. When passing blame, you show a lack of control. Learn to gracefully admit your shortcomings, accept them and move on. Your team will respect your honesty and admire your resilience — and even more so when you take the initiative to be transparent with your actions. To facilitate this, use a board portal software like Convene for your board meetings and other enterprise meetings. It keeps a record of all changes in a document, so it’s quick to determine who is responsible for which revision. Your peers will know that you’ve got nothing to hide.
When it comes to leadership integrity, your team looks to you to act in a manner that is true to your beliefs. Along with accountability, integrity is measured by the ability to walk the walk. Mean what you say and say what you mean to earn and keep the respect of your peers.
Good leaders are not born; they are made. Even if it takes years, it’s always worth a try to become the best leader that you can be, not just for the people you work with, but also for the future of your organization.