Leadership has many definitions depending on the role you play in the organization. Based on the feedback from my site, it seems that everybody is looking for a comprehensive list of Leadership Qualities. My assumption is that you are trying to prepare an evaluation for an employee on your team or you are just looking to see what leadership qualities are needed to progress in your own career. I have done some research through several books and came up with a pretty good list to start you out with.
Bookmark this page, or better yet, subscribe to the RSS feed to get email updates when they are posted. Over the next weeks, I will begin to dive into these skills individually and explain why they are important and give examples and possibly exercises or practices that can be done to become more effective in each of the skills. Here is a brief description and thoughts on each leadership quality I have found to be most important to people.
Leadership Skill #1: Honesty
This one is pretty straight forward, but it is absolutely critical that as a leader you are honest. At no time in business is it acceptable to “lie” about anything to your staff or co-workers. You can simply say “I cannot speak on that” or if a mistake is made own it. It is much better to do that than to lie. Lying to someone will diminish their trust in you as their leader. Period! Gaining trust is never easy, but losing it is. AND it only takes one little white lie to lose any trust and credibility that you might have gained with that person and could be damaged forever or at a minimum have to be earned back.
Leadership Skill #2: Inspiring
Definition: to fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something. As leaders we hope that we inspire others to do good work, or to reach goals that they couldn’t have achieved without your inspiration. There is never a better feeling that knowing that you inspired someone to take action on something that they wouldn’t have done otherwise.
Leadership Skill #3: Competent
This simply means are they competent in the work they do? Can you go to this person for advice or input and know that they are giving you good information.
Leadership Skill #4: Fair minded
You want a leader to be fair in all circumstances. If the leader plays favorites or takes sides in a conflict or a problem without looking objectively at the facts then the leader will likely lose the employees faith in their ability to solve the conflict or problem. It is likely the next time the employee has an issue they will find someone that will fill the “fair-minded” role and provide better guidance and advice on how to resolve it. Be fair and treat others the way that you would want to be treated. Simple, right?
Leadership Skill #5: Straight forward
In my role, sometimes I can be too straight forward. I have to really work on putting on the filter, but I believe that people respect that as long as it doesn’t seem “aggressive”. I tell things like they are and I believe most leaders should also do that. It is a good leadership skill to have, but in my case sometimes needs to be managed effectively, so not to be perceived as overbearing or “opinionated”.
Leadership Skill #6: Supportive
Leaders need to be supportive of their staff. Whether it is a personal issue or a work related issue, leadership means listening and providing solutions or guidance to help that employee overcome their obstacles. Sometimes people need to vent out frustrations and that is where leaders play a big role. This is also where huge “trust” points can be gained. You don’t have to be their “friend” per say, but you must be willing to listen and engage in whatever is bothering them. They will work better for you if you do.
Leadership Skill #7: Credible
Definition: Ability to be believed, convincing. I am going to give a political example. So as the presidential election goes on, you have a candidate who promises things. He is SO convincing and presents himself well during the debates. YEA, he gets elected…..but then while in office he does NONE of the things he promised and makes excuses for why he couldn’t do that. He just LOST all the credibility he gained during the election. What will lose your credibility quicker than anything? NOT DELIVERING what you promise. Again this is my personal opinion, but this is probably one of the most important things to gain as a leadership.
Leadership Skill #8: Negotiator
Leaders need to have great negotiation skills regardless of what you are negotiating. In my organization I am frequently negotiating timelines and project deliverables and resources and sometimes people don’t like the answers, so we learn to negotiate and brainstorm alternatives. This is a skill that I believed to be learned and gets better with practice and being put into situations to negotiate.
Leadership Skill #9: Team Builder
Leaders typically have the ability to build great teams. This comes from knowing your teams strengths and weaknesses and pairing teams together that can fill the holes and where the teams can be successful at their project or task.
Leadership Skill #10: Team Player
This one is simple. Be willing to get in and roll up your sleeves when the team needs you. Don’t ever think that you are too beyond getting in and helping. Even if it is just “moral” support, being there for your team and being present is sometimes all that is needed to be considered a “team player”.
Leadership Skill #11: Strategic Planner
Look beyond today and see the big picture. Are there things and processes that are causing your team pain that you can eliminate? Is it in your power to make small changes that have a big impact on their work environment? Leadership look forward and try to plan for these things. Also, what is or should be on the horizon to make your team and your organization be the best it can be. Leaders are looked to for “strategy”… Plan for those projects/ideas before you are asked.
Leadership Skill #11: Executor
After you have come up with some strategic plans, make an executable plan to deliver on those ideas. Execute your strategies.
Leadership Skill #13: Humility
Always remember where you came from, I don’t imagine you were born into the leadership role that you play. I always act as if the team members are more valuable than I am. Their opinions and needs are put way above mine.
This is a pretty good start to a list for effective leadership skills and qualities needed by everybody attempting to be a good and great leader. Please contact me if you feel I am missing a key component to this Leadership Qualities List. PLEASE take the survey below so that I can understand what my visitors are here for and how I can provide value for you in the future. It’s only 3 questions.