Some people are born leaders. Others learn through experience and hard work how to be a leader. But regardless of how you become a leader. there’s always ways to enhance your leadership skills. The best leaders in the workplace all share some traits that consistently lead them to success. Here are a few traits that we commonly see in successful leaders.
They act as a positive role model
Being a leader is sort of like being an older sibling in that the younger one copies and does everything you do. If you slam the door, they’ll think it’s okay to slam their door as well. It’s the same with employees — as a leader, your actions tell your employees what they can and can’t do in the workplace. Whether you establish rules or expectations for how your staff can behave, the best way to enforce this is by demonstrating through your own behavior.
They communicate effectively
Relationships at work are built through communication, and it has always been one of the key pillars of trust and respect in the workplace. Make sure your staff knows that they can openly discuss work topics with you, but don’t limit your conversations to workplace issues. Spend time with your team to learn more about them and their personal lives, what they’re working on, and their strengths and interests. And most importantly, give them your full, undivided attention when they speak. That means eye contact and no working on a project or email.
They are passionate about what they do
Great leaders are passionate — in everything they do. Passion comes with a vision, and grows through motivation. If you want your staff to be dedicated, you have to be dedicated yourself. Being a good leader means being committed to the goals of the company and inspiring your employees to see the same vision you do. People will respond more easily and quicker to a leader who is enthusiastic about their work.
They stay humble
Always share the credit for projects done well with your team. On the flip side, don’t be afraid to make a mistake (you are the boss), but when you make one, admit it. This way, your employees feel safe admitting their own mistakes. Apologize when you need to, and stop bluffing when you don’t have the solution to a problem. After all, that’s what your team is for — one person can’t possibly know everything!
They never stop trying to improve
Many people don’t see the value in establishing a mentor relationship, whether it’s because they don’t know where to start, they’re too proud, or think it’s a waste of time. But what they don’t know is that the best leaders throughout history have all had mentors. Here’s a couple: Plato was mentored by Socrates (yup, we went way back in history), Thomas Jefferson by George Wythe, Warren Buffet by Benjamin Graham, and Marc Benioff by Steve Jobs. A smart and confident leader realizes that there’s always more to learn and reaches out for someone else’s opinion. Seeking advice from someone with more experience is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of confidence.
While these aren’t a to-do list of traits that you can suddenly start checking off everyday, we’d like to think that they’re a good idea of behaviors you can try to adapt. However, keep in mind that everyone has their own style of leadership. So if you hate stuffy one-on-one meetings, feel free to put your own twist on it and make it a casual coffee chat.