8 Leadership Qualities You Should Aspire to Have
While there are some qualities that you can’t really learn, when it comes to leadership, there are certainly areas you can work on. It goes without saying that things like your self confidence are essential qualities to focus on, but what other traits should you possess as a great leader? We’ve outlined eight of the most important leadership qualities below:
1. Self Confidence
If you hope to inspire confidence in others, you first need to become confident yourself. You’ll often find that confidence is contagious. Your employees are generally more likely to have faith in your abilities if you demonstrate confidence, without appearing arrogant.
Self confidence isn’t just important for others to see either – you’ll probably struggle to hold a position of leadership if you don’t believe in yourself or your vision for the future. Of course self confidence can be difficult to develop if you’re not a naturally confident person. But over time, when you’re able to look back at the progress you’ve made, your self confidence should grow.
2. A Clear Vision
Perhaps one of the most important qualities of a successful leader is having a clear vision. Your goals need to be purposeful and well articulated, so that your employees will resonate with this vision. They need to see and understand the big picture, which will hopefully inspire better loyalty and a drive to succeed.
In order to lead, you need to be leading people towards something. So it could be argued that you can’t truly be a leader unless you have a clear vision, and a goal to aim towards.
3. Strong Focus
When it comes to just about any job role, there are always countless distractions. Focusing your time and energy on the most pressing issue can therefore be challenging. Having a clear vision can help with this, as can making a conscious effort to improve your focus.
Focus is generally about balancing your more rigid, goal-oriented side with your flexible side, which is ready to face the unexpected. If you have the ability to focus, this allows you to be both mindful and decisive.
4. Communication Skills
In order to inspire others, you typically need to be a strong communicator. Words can be powerful, with the ability to galvanise, empower, confuse and aggravate. As they say, the pen is mightier than the sword, and words really can change the way we think and behave.
Communication isn’t just about speaking though – it’s just as important to be a great listener as a business leader. You need to give your staff a platform from which they can speak up, asking questions and providing ideas. Some of the most innovative concepts come from open discussion forums, so don’t assume that you always know best!
In terms of resilience, a resilient leader has the ability to fail and then pick themselves back up again. You need to be ready to do your best, but keep on going when you make mistakes or don’t reach your goals.
Truly resilient people can see every experience, good or bad, as an opportunity to learn. They are often mindful, examining each moment and seeing it as a chance to grow. We won’t all succeed first time, every time, so we must learn to embrace the learning opportunities presented to us.
You often need to be decisive as a leader, trusting that your knowledge, experience and instincts will take you down the right path. Someone has to make these decisions, especially if there is time pressure, and if you’re leading the business, it will ultimately be down to you.
Decisiveness also involves accepting that the right decision won’t necessarily be the easiest one. Not only this, but failing to make a decision can be even more detrimental than making a bad choice.
Although some people mistake humility for false modesty, this trait allows you to accept your own limitations, while still keeping your self confidence levels high. Humility lets you collaborate better with others, seeking their ideas and taking on these ideas if they are superior to your own.
Humility is also about admitting to your mistakes. Pretending these errors didn’t happen, or blaming someone else, will only cause your staff to lose their trust in you. You need to own up to your mistakes, and then put in the work to rectify them.
Many people overlook creativity when discussing the traits that make a good leader. But creativity can transform a good leader into a great one. Creative ideas will often lead you down avenues you’d never dreamed of, and can be incredibly profitable.
Fostering creativity within your team can furthermore result in innovation across the board. Big ideas could mean big achievements, but you won’t know how far you can go unless you try!