Those who aspire to lead in today’s more demanding world must develop certain attributes before they can be considered for leadership roles. Here are four core attributes required to receive the keys to the kingdom.
Lenient – No one is perfect—including leaders. Effective leaders are aware of their own, and their team members’, weaknesses and shortcomings. Dale Carnegie’s first Human Relations principle is, ‘Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.’ Instead of criticizing, condemning and complaining, effective leaders do their best to correct employees’ weaknesses. Adept leaders offer solutions such as training, flexible work schedules, job-shadowing, etc. in lieu of criticism. These solutions demonstrate empathy, compassion and humility which ultimately strengthen interpersonal connections; reinforce trust; and establish camaraderie.
Engaging– Leaders must have a high degree of self-awareness so that they understand which triggers motivate them, and in which environments they thrive. This knowledge provides wellbeing and security to individual leaders because it enables them to better relate to the people that they manage. Leaders are accountable for communicating the vision and strategic direction of the company which should be demonstrated through inspiring, coaching, teaching, rewarding and measuring employees. When employees believe in—and trust leadership, companies are more likely to have a higher level of employee engagement.
Authentic – In Forbes article, Be Original And Flourish As A Leader in 2015, Glen Llopis highlights the impact of originality in leadership. Llopis states, “Wise leaders are the ones whose presence, authenticity and the manner in which they communicate and engage with others are genuine and unique. They quickly earn respect – but realize it takes originality, creativity and uncommon thinking to sustain it.” Self-awareness and authenticity foster a leader’s openness to employees’ perspectives which in kind grows those employees’ level of trust and respect for their leader.
Decisive – Leaders are drowning in data, ideas, policy changes, email, etc. just like the rest of the world. They must, therefore, have a keen sense of judgment and ability to prioritize quickly in order to act efficiently at all times. These abilities enable expert leaders to cut through the clutter so that they can hone in on which challenges and/or changes are most important and urgent. Decisive leaders understand which issues are most salient and quickly pose clarifying questions so that they fully understand the consequences—in terms of people, product and processes, of each option before making a decision.