A common misconception is that individuals are just naturally gifted with leadership skills. The truth is that leadership traits, like other skills, can be acquired with time and practice. Below are seven traits of an effective leader:
- Effective Communicators
Leaders are excellent communicators, able to clearly and concisely explain problems and solutions. Leaders know when to talk and when to listen. In addition, leaders are able to communicate on different levels: one-on-one, via phone, email, etc.
- Accountable and Responsible
Leaders hold themselves accountable and take responsibility for any mistakes. Leaders support and encourage individuality while abiding by organizational structure, rules, and policies that need to be followed.
- Long-term Thinkers
Leaders are visionaries. This is evidenced by the leadership trait of being able to plan for the future through concrete and quantifiable goals. They understand the need for continuous change and are open to trying new approaches to solve problems or improve processes.
Leaders are self-motivated and are able to keep going and attain goals despite setbacks. In addition, good leaders try their best to exceed, not just meet, expectations.
Virtually all good leaders share the leadership trait of confidence. They are able to make tough decisions and lead with authority. By being confident, leaders are able to reassure and inspire others, establish open communications, and encourage teamwork.
Leaders are typically people-oriented and team players. They’re able to foster a team culture, involve others in decision-making, and show concern for each team member. By being people-oriented, leaders are able to energize and motivate others. By making each individual feel important and vital to the team’s success, they secure the best efforts from each member of the team.
- Emotionally Stable
Leaders exercise good control and regulation over their own behavior and are able to tolerate frustration and stress. Leaders are able to cope with changes in an environment without having an intense emotional reaction.
Traits of a Bad Leader
Listed below are the traits that bad leaders commonly exhibit:
- Too bossy
- Fearful of change
- Unwilling or unable to communicate effectively
- Dismissive of ideas other than their own
- Lacking empathy
- Prone to blame others rather than accept responsibility themselves
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