Whether you are leading a family, class, project or an organization, you are directly responsible for the engagement of those who follow you. Effective leadership has a lot to do with inspiring, aligning and activating — but it shouldn’t end there. Some of the most important leadership traits are:
Trust: This is the foundation for leading. Be honest, clear, and predictable with your followers. For instance, model sharing your struggles as a leader—doing so will encourage your followers to share the same with you.
Compassion: Be positive and listen. Whenever confronted with difficult situations, irrespective of whether it is work or personal, be calm. Your followers will be more likely to mirror your reactions. Ensure you convey that you holistically care about your followers and that you don’t just look at them as workers.
Stability: Show your followers that they can count on you. Communication is key to creating a stable environment as is focusing on the present. Answer questions and be consistent in how you respond to your followers.
Hope: The future is bright! Even when things are hard, acknowledge the difficulties, emphasize that you and your followers will work together through the tough times together and that the outcome will always have an element of positivity. They want to have faith that you will guide them in the right direction.
Openness: Be willing to stray from the way things have always been done and be open to better ways to succeed. Sometimes this means taking a road less traveled when solving problems – encourage your followers to voice their ideas and find ways to incorporate them into your process.
As a leader, you need to constantly practice honing and refining these traits. To improve your leadership skills, you can:
- Do something you are passionate about
- Take leadership courses
- Consider every day as an opportunity to learn
- Brush up on your hard and soft skills
- Engage in personal reflection
- Find a mentor