There a lot of ways to lead a team of people; but while not everyone might agree on the most effective type, we can all agree that the performance of the team heavily relies on its leader.
So what are the qualities of a good leader? On the most basic level, leadership styles can be categorized as being manipulative, authoritative, or attractive. While all of these styles might get the job done, can you guess which one is the most effective in the long-run?
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s define the characteristics and qualities of what makes a good, attractive leader.
Quality 1: Drive and Orientation
Efficient leaders are those who can’t only work tactically and strategically, but can also be able to lead their team towards a specific goal. Because their efforts are not directed at gaining personal benefits or control, the good leader’s aim is to make sure things happen.
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At the very foundation of the notion of leadership lies trust. Without it, no project or team dynamic could be optimal. Moreover, in an ideal conception of leadership, all of the aspects of trust are linked with each other: the leader must be a trustworthy person; he or she must be able to win others’ trust and help them develop their confidence.
Quality 2: Allow for Autonomy and Accountability
Good leaders are also those who allow their team to develop autonomy and add value according to their own personal strengths. Being able to recognize the strengths of individuals within their team, and allowing them to be responsible and accountable, not only increases employees’ confidence in themselves and their leader, but also increases their performance.
The good leader is capable of managing his/her team members; offering assistance and feedback in order to further develop their talents and potential.
Quality 3: Authenticity
An important quality of a good leader is their authenticity; their ability to remain true to themselves, their beliefs, and their values. In fact, the good leader doesn’t have to simply remain true to themselves, but they must also be able to transfer their values and beliefs to his/her team.
The good leader doesn’t only have to be able to effectively communicate their own values and beliefs, but also those of the organization, as well as its image and overall goal.
Quality 4: Possess Good Communication Skills
Even though this seems obvious, communication skills are considered by most to be the most important quality of a good leader. The good leader needs to possess this essential skill in order to be able to achieve his/her ultimate objective.
Good communication skills allow the good leader to be a better negotiator and conflict manager. Being able to effectively explain the circumstance and justify the decision taken not only makes team members feel more comfortable with the decision, but also view their leader as being more credible.
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Having the team understand their objectives is also crucial to their performance and success. Being able to communication the How, What, Where and Why of an organization’s objective to the team ensures that they are all moving harmoniously in one single direction. Leaders with good communication skills are also viewed as being more credible. Their charismatic nature increases the trust and confidence that the team has in their leader’s abilities.
Quality 5: Question Everything!
The good leader has great investigating skills, and the natural instinct to do so. Being more on the skeptical side motivates the good leader to question everything; the Who, What, Where, How and Why of any situation. This line of questioning allows them to not only identify potential strengths and weaknesses, but also why they are present and how they can be resolved.
Where to find good leaders?
So now that we have identified the qualities and skills that a good leader should possess, how do we find them?
According to Dave Ulrich, named the most influential person in HR by HR Magazine, approximately 20% of all people are naturally-born leaders, while another 20% do not possess the necessarily skills and qualities and will never be good leaders.
Because 20% sounds like such a small percentage, you will all be happy to know that the remaining 60% of the population are capable of becoming good leaders with proper coaching and training!
So, do not waste your time searching for the “perfect” leader. Chances are that you already have one in your organization! Whether they are one of the 20% or the 60%, all you need is to be able to identify those individuals and determine how to best develop their skills.
Developing the skills and qualities of a good leader
While this task might sound daunting to many people, it is actually quite simple once you can specifically identify the leader’s particular weakness. Because it’s “qualities” that we discuss when talking about good leaders, the best measure would be to use psychometric testing.
Psychometric tests assess specific traits and characteristics that are innate to a particular person; allowing you to see what their natural reflexes are going to be for specific situations, such as their orientation towards results or their tendency to be skeptical.
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Not everyone has been blessed with the opportunity to be led by influential and competent leaders. In fact, you might be shuddering at the very thought of reliving your experiences with them, or perhaps you have mended those wounds and are now lucky enough to be exposed to someone with an inspiring style of leadership.
With the results of Atman’s psychometric test, it will be easy to identify those individuals who are natural-born leaders, or who have the capacity to become good leaders. The results will also allow you to clearly identify which specific areas need improvement in order to further develop the qualities of a good leader.
Before you appoint a leader, or go out looking for one, make sure you have a clear understanding of what it is you want them to achieve. Make sure they have the qualities and characteristics of a good leader, and whether or not they are a good fit with the team they will be leading.
Examine their characteristics, natural reflexes, and their strengths to see if they have what it takes!