Characteristics of a Good Leader

Every business setting has a list of goals and targets that it wants to achieve short-term and long-term. However, the CEO of the company cannot perform all the duties by himself/herself to deliver on those goals. He/she has to set up a team of different individuals from different functions of the organisation who will all act as his/her key right-hand men/women providing support where necessary.

However, they will always be times when members of this team will tend to differ and disagree with each other. If not handled well, this might lead to sour relationships developing. Some of the reasons why teams fail to accomplish their goals and targets are team conflict and lack of commitment/ability from others within the team.

So as a leader, how do you deal with such situations?

Be attentive to team conflict leads: Whenever, there is conflict within the team, normally rumours start to spread out or the actions and behaviours of team members start to change. If this starts showing up or if one member is constantly opposing the contribution of the other member, start questioning “Why” and probe further.

Arrange team hangouts: Some people maybe because of their upbringing, or experiences before, prefer to work independently. Such people when exposed to a team environment will normally feel out of place and don’t know where to start from leading others to think that they lack commitment. By arranging activities such as lunch, drinks, cinema or sports together, this actually helps with the bonding process.

Reward team work instead of individual performance: Where group projects are involved, it is important as a leader that you don’t go too far into praising individual performance. You can organise e.g. “Team of the month award” events. The winning team gets rewarded say, by receiving a trophy, lunch vouchers or they are send out for a visit to an exclusive site, museum, etc. This will promote team work as everyone is aware that, not only one but all members will be rewarded.

Ensure Continuous Professional Development of team members: Some team’s members may not be contributing because they are not familiar with the subject area. As a team leader, continuously assess and review the skills and capabilities of your team colleagues. Those who need further training and development should be encouraged to do so. This will help in team members tackling challenging tasks.

Empower employees: As a leader, you cannot always be there to solve the problems. When you empower your team to make certain decisions without consulting you first, they will feel valued and motivated. This will increase their confidence and they will also be willing to go one step further when asked to.

Since a leader is supposed to be the voice of influence, lead a team of followers and bring positive change whatever circumstances maybe, possessing the following qualities will make up a good leader:

A good leader knows & understands his purpose: Acknowledging that you’re in a position of influence to serve others is very important. If we strive to get into a position of leadership just because of what we are going to get out of it, then that is not a true serving spirit. A serving spirit puts the needs of others first before ours.

A good leader has a vision big enough to bring positive change to many: In a business set up, a good leader has the ability to see what lies ahead and how he can fulfil the dreams of various stakeholders of the business. He also has the ability to alter the vision when circumstances change.

A good leader knows that it takes team work not individualism to achieve great results: He doesn’t rely only on his skills set but understands that whether a team member is front line or behind the scenes (back office), their contribution is vital to the achievement of the organisation’s strategic goals and objectives.

A good leader is secure and willing to learn: Being a leader doesn’t not mean that you possess all the answers to all the problems that come your way. A good leader is not threatened by the skills and abilities of those around him. He/she always maintains an attitude that “learning never stops” and is open to advice, suggestions and constructive criticism. He/she is also challenging others to grow and learn too by providing them with a platform to shine and develop themselves further.

A good leader never stops singing his song: When a leader has a vision and a cause, he is not easily distracted by the blowing winds. He is committed to see it come to pass. Very often business leaders give up quickly on their vision just because they don’t have, say, technological innovation, meaningful financial resources, instant buy-in from other organisational members, or don’t possess market dominance.

A good leader goes back to the drawing board, analyses the current strategies, identifies areas where changes are needed, comes up with new creative solutions and motivates his team to come on board.

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