5 Essential Traits for Effective Leadership

August 30, 2014

The art of effective leadership can at times seem mysterious, and it’s true the study of leadership is a very broad field. There are certain traits though that most great leaders seem to have despite their different circumstances. Each of these traits are things anyone can learn, and together they help form critical pieces of the effective leadership puzzle. So if you’ve always wanted to improve your leadership qualities, then I hope the following tips help guide you along.

1) Strong Integrity

An effective leader must be a person of integrity, and someone who sets an example for others to aspire to. It’s important the people under you have faith in your sense of ethics, and have confidence in you to do the right thing. There are going to be times when you have to choose between your ethics, and doing some more expedient. It’s times like these you set a clear example of what you stand for.

2) Communication Skills

A big aspect of effective leadership is being able to communicate your needs to the people under you, and to be able to listen to their needs as well. Good communication is a two-way street that often involves more listening than speaking. An effective leader needs to be able to communicate with all aspects of his team, and tailor his communication style if necessary. Different people have different ways of seeing things. It doesn’t mean they are necessarily wrong, it just means they might have a different perspective for you to consider. A good leader can gain valuable insight by effectively communicating with people with so many different perspectives.

3) Self-Confidence

Everyone has doubts from time to time, and that is perfectly natural. Part of being an effective leader though is learning to move past these doubts, and have faith in your own abilities. If you don’t have confidence in your own abilities, this can filter down to the people under you and create a bad atmosphere. A common error made by a lot of people in leadership positions is to mistake arrogance for self-confidence. An effective leader should always be open to the possibility of being wrong, and shouldn’t let their ego potentially blind them to something they might have missed.

4) Positive Mental Attitude

There are going to be times when things just aren’t going your way, and the attitude you have when those situations arise is critical. It’s inevitable you that you will run into obstacles, but how you approach these challenges is up to you to decide. You can view them as chances to grow as a leader, or impossible roadblocks that can’t be beaten. The attitude you demonstrate to your team at times like these is going to set the tone for how they respond. If they see from you a negative attitude then they will begin to adopt it themselves. So always try to approach each new problem with an upbeat attitude, and the confidence that you can handle whatever comes your way.

5) Be Decisive

Being a leader means making decisions, and sometimes these decisions can be especially tough. There are no shortcuts around this, and it’s just one of the burdens that leaders have to bear. With that said it’s important as the leader you are decisive when it comes to time to make decisions. An indecisive leader can potentially hold up an entire project with their inability to make a choice, and there are countless examples of this out there. The reality is that it’s impossible to see all the potential consequences of your decisions, and the best you can do is make the best choice possible based on what information is available to you. This might seem daunting, but it’s the critical foundation effective leadership is built on.