What Makes a Good Leader?
Leadership qualities allow an individual to guide a group of people toward a common goal. It is not a specific skill that makes someone a good leader, but rather a set of them. Each is valuable on its own but taken together, these leadership qualities allow an individual to succeed in certain occupations or advance through the ranks of an organization.
What Qualities Make You a Good Leader?
A combination of abilities will allow you to influence others. To be an effective leader, you must be able to:
- Communicate Verbally: A strong leader must be articulate. Excellent speaking skills will allow you to be able to impart instructions to your staff and pertinent information to your colleagues and clients.
- Listen: Not only must you be able to convey information to others, but it is also imperative that you comprehend what they are telling you. Excellent listening skills will allow you to build rapport with your team and understand and address their concerns.
- Persuade: Good leaders don't merely demand their workers follow their commands blindly. They convince them that it is the best thing to do.
- Use Critical Thinking to Make Decisions and Solve Problems: Leaders spend a lot of time making decisions and solving problems, which requires using critical thinking skills. When faced with having to make a decision or come up with a solution to a problem, the ability to compare various actions and solutions regarding their costs and benefits is essential.
- Delegate Work to Others: Being a leader doesn't mean you have to take on every task yourself. That would be inefficient. Your strength should be in knowing who on your team you can count on to do a great job.
- Organize Your Own and Others' Work: Good organizational skills will allow you to complete work in a timely fashion and help those you lead to do the same.
- Take Responsibility for Yours and Your Subordinate's Mistakes: An effective leader doesn't blame others for his or her mistakes. Take ownership when things go wrong. That goes for when you made the error or when one of your subordinates did.
- Persevere: Tenacity is a trait that will allow you to get through any situation, regardless of how difficult things become. Often slow and steady really does win the race. When you aren't able to reach your goals as quickly as desired, keep striving to get to the finish line.
- Adapt to Change: When plans get thrown off course, as they often do, flexibility may be called for. The willingness to make adjustments to your original strategy can help you reach your goals. If you can adjust your plans, you will have a better chance of succeeding and helping your team move forward.
- Build Relationships: Good leaders can connect with people and foster connections between others. Think of the mutual friend who coordinates the plans for a group of individuals who wouldn't otherwise know one another. Developing good working relationships with both your subordinates and superiors is an essential leadership quality.
- Show Respect for Your Subordinates: Tyrants may get others to do things, but they aren't seen as good leaders, at least not by those in their charge. If you want people who are under your authority to respect you, you must also demonstrate respect for them.
- Support Others: You will thrive when your team does. It will be in your best interests to help those with whom you work to reach their goals. But that isn't the primary reason to support your subordinates and coworkers. People appreciate knowing their leaders are on their side as they try to reach their goals.
- Respond to Crises: If you panic every time something unexpected happens, so will your team. And nothing will get done. It is your job to lead your team through every crisis successfully.
Careers That Require Strong Leadership Skills
Excellent leadership skills are required in many occupations, especially if you aspire to a managerial position. Here are some vocations for which this skill set is especially important:
- Chief Executive Officer: Usually referred to as a CEO, she helps a company or organization achieve success by setting goals, implementing strategies, coordinating senior staff, and reporting to the board of directors.
- Athletic Coach: A coach teaches individuals or team athletes the fundamentals of a sport and trains them to succeed in it.
- Pilot: Although a pilot's primary responsibility is flying an aircraft, he is also in charge of a plane's crew.
- Choreographer: A choreographer designs dances, instructs dancers, and leads rehearsals.
- Judge: A judge presides over legal cases and makes sure they are handled fairly according to the law.
- Producer: A producer oversees financial and business matters for movies, television shows, and stage productions.
- Director: A director makes sure the creative aspects of films, stage productions, and television shows run smoothly.
- Clergy: Members of the clergy, including rabbis, priests, imams, and ministers, organize and lead religious services and educational programs in houses of worship.
- Teacher: In addition to helping students learn and apply concepts in a variety of subjects, a teacher supervises teachers' aides and mentors newer educators.
- Doctor: A doctor diagnoses and treats medical conditions, and may manage other health professionals.
- Recreational Therapist: A recreational therapist plans and coordinates recreational activities that are used to treat ill or injured people.
- Funeral Director: A funeral director helps bereaved families plan their deceased relatives' funerals.
- Chef: A chef runs a kitchen and supervises other culinary employees in a dining establishment.
- Athletic Trainer: An athletic trainer treats athletes and others who have injured their muscles or bones.
- Fashion Designer: A fashion designer creates clothing and accessories. He or she may direct workers who cut patterns and construct products.
- Registered Nurse: A registered nurse treats patients and advises them and their families. He or she may also supervise other healthcare workers.
- Urban or Regional Planner: An urban or regional planner makes recommendations to a community about how it can best use its land and resources.