In today’s modern world, when communal type organizations start “sprouting from the ground up” and become more prominent in school, the workplace and even small clubs,... teamwork is nothing unfamiliar to us. To maintain and strengthen a sense of teamwork, a leader must steer the wheel and allocate tasks appropriately to drive the efficiency of the team. Vince Lombardi - a well-known American football coach - had a well put quote: ‘Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.’ Like he said, no one is born with leadership skills built in. In order to establish oneself as a true leader, they need to practice it just like any other skill. Leaders not only need the knowledge of their tasks and expected outcomes, but they also need soft skills to help their team complete them. If you are curious what these skills include in particular, this article will suggest some so you and I can practice!
IMAGE: @MARIE CLAIRE
The first trait a leader should possess is confidence. Someone with more confidence will attract more people, giving them a sense of reliability and can convince other people to agree with their opinions.
In order to exude confidence, good body language is key to communicating it. For example, you should practice good posture, raise your chin when you speak, speak loudly and clearly and use hand gestures to emphasize the ideas you wish to convey.
Confidence does not mean arrogance. A good leader will admit to their own mistakes rather than reinforce old habits or outdated opinions. Moreover, don’t be afraid to admit your shortcomings or things you never knew about yourself. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, but if you don’t stop learning everyday then you will receive a lot more support from the people around you. Instead of simply stopping at “I don’t know”, you could say “I don’t know, but I will find the answer and get back to you”. This will be an excellent boost to other people’s perception of you!
2. Being decent at communication
The legendary Paul J. Meyer - a millionaire developer in America - had a famous quote on the importance of communication: ‘Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success’ A leader has the ability to process his message into something understandable and achievable to get the job running, especially so that the jobs of newer employees are easier. Additionally, this is essential to quickly convincing others, creating trust and becoming a person who possesses reliability.
Being in an organization with many people and many different personalities may easily lead to internal conflict and misunderstanding. A leader with good communication skills is the binding thread for the members, as well as being the person who can discern left from right, right from wrong and will thoroughly help each individual recognize what needs to be done and understand each other, from there building a strong team foundation.
3. The ability to organize and manage work
Claremont McKenna, a researcher from Penn State University, said that a leader is not someone who just orders people around and forces compliance, but is someone who nurtures trust and autonomy in their team, leads the team to achieve more tasks and for each individual to be more efficient. FOr this, a sound leader would have sound logic; they can divide up tasks equitably, suiting the strengths of each individual. This will help the task be completed with better quality.
A leader is responsible for time blocking each task with deadlines. For this, they will know how to manage work so other members can get it done on time while maintaining the output quality.
4. Being passionate about your work
‘Do what you love, love what you do’ - Wayne Walter Dyer, a famous self help author in America. In order to achieve the tasks you set in the beginning, having the love and desire to get the best results is a crucial trait.
Moreover, a leader is a figure to look up to. Thus, a leader must show how dedicated they are to the job, as they ignite the flame of inspiration that will spread to others, creating an environment where everyone is excited to contribute and to be more effective.
5. Having a long term vision
The next trait that a sound leader should have is a clear vision. It will be the driving motivator for the members and leader to follow to the end. Of course, each individual in the team will have their own way of motivating themselves. However, if the whole team had a single source of motivation and vision, it can function harmoniously. This will help the leader steer and build a strong, cooperative body of members.
If a leader does not have a vision, the organization will not have a clear strategic direction and will not be able to set effective actions towards a specific goal. Because of that, that organization in general and its members in particular, if possible, can only operate according to the available machines. In this case, the best they can achieve is to preserve what they already have, in the worst case, they can slow down or fall behind. Not only that, they will find it difficult to persuade or influence others, which can cause stagnation and have a negative impact on interactions to develop at work.
6. Respecting members/coworkers
Last but not least, no matter what position you’re in, respecting the people around you is just like respecting yourself. Abraham Maslow - a prominent American psychologist - once said: ‘We do what we are and we are what we do’ Respecting those above you and those who came first will give us more wisdom, respecting people below us will give your words more weight. You need to respect others in order to be respected!
Respecting others' opinions and having an open mind is a good opportunity for you to have an impartial and multidimensional perspective on a problem and even yourself. In a leadership position, as someone with authority, you cannot avoid making mistakes occasionally. However, showing respect does not mean mindless compliance or agreeing with every single thing your peers say. You know what’s best for your team, this requires assertiveness from the leader. If someone disagrees with you, hear out their reasoning and use it to make a decision. If you cannot use their ideas, let them know you respect their opinion but that you choose a different direction. The freedom to express their opinions will help teammates establish more responsibility with the overall task.
‘Leadership is action, not position.’ (Donald H. McGannon - broadcasting industry executive during the formative years of the television industry in the United States.) Through the article above, I hope I helped you understand more the actions and traits needed to become a good leader. See you in the next article!