Every Good Leader Should Possess These Abilities
Being a good leader requires a number of fine-tuned skills and abilities. Leaders must not only be able to complete their own work, they must also understand how to work with people, and how to act in a way which achieves results for an organisation. This article takes a look at leadership as a whole and breaks down the abilities that every good leader should possess. Of course no one is perfect, but working to better yourself in the below areas will put you on the right track towards leadership success.
Forward and critical thinking
Critical thinking refers to skilful and responsible thinking where a problem is looked at from all angles. In today’s fast paced business environment, being able to think critically with a view to the future is imperative to success. A leader who has a focus on critical thinking will assist in bettering processes, and ensure the job gets done correctly the first time. Critical thinking doesn’t have to be an autonomous process – brainstorming with your team can help highlight problems that you weren’t aware of, and bring new ideas to the table.
Communication is key to almost every job function – having skills in this area is useful in situations such as employee reviews, giving instructions, and writing reports. As a leader, you may know exactly what you wish to accomplish but unless you are able to effectively convey your thoughts, you cannot expect employees to understand. If communication isn’t your expertise, you should focus on bettering your skills by undertaking further exercises or courses. Effective communication skills allow you to better relay your vision, the company’s vision and how you would like certain tasks approached. In addition, if training new staff members is a part of your leadership role, communicating the correct information effectively will be essential.
Ask the right questions
The ability to ask questions is simple – however asking questions which are going to give you the specific information that you require is often not as easy. Asking the right questions from the beginning will not only save you and your organisation a great deal of time, you will also reach your goals a lot quicker. Every good leader should possess the ability to sit back objectively and determine specific questions that need to be asked. Reflecting on what needs to be done, as well as what is right for the organisation are important starting points. You should also consider how your questions are going to help you achieve your overall goal(s).
Take responsibility for decisions
Every good leader should possess the ability to make informed decisions, as well as understand they must take responsibility for both the good and bad. In our career we will all make mistakes, failure is inevitable. It is how we take responsibility for the decisions, and build from our failures that makes us a better leader. As Mitt Romney says ‘Leadership is about taking responsibility, not making excuses’ – the best leaders will triumph in both successful and failed circumstances.
Ability to delegate
American philanthropist and entrepreneur Eli Broad notes that ‘the inability to delegate is one of the biggest problems I see with managers at all levels’. Being able to delegate ensures that people with certain skills are completing the tasks that they should be, as well as ensuring maximum efficiency for the organisation. As a team leader, delegating allows your team members to develop by completing tasks that challenge them. Delegating also allows leaders to develop their own coaching and mentoring skills throughout the process.
Focus on opportunities
As Winston Churchill once said, ’A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty’. Every good leader should possess the mindset which focusses on opportunities, rather than the difficulties that they are presented with. A leader with a positive mindset will identify new projects, and in turn it is likely that they will be more innovative. No one likes to work with someone who is negative, especially if it is a leader, so focus on tackling tasks with a positive mindset and find the opportunity in every difficulty.
Ability to inspire
Without an engaged and motivated team, very little ideas will be implemented successfully. As a leader, it is part of your role to inspire your employees, and ensure they share the same vision as you. You must focus on making your team feel valued, invested in the success of the organisation, and enthusiastic about the work in front of them. Without an inspired work culture, work may be completed, but not to its full potential. It is also important to note that hard work should not go unnoticed, and when the team is working hard you should encourage the occasional break so that they remain motivated.
What do you think?
Do you think that these are the most important abilities that every good leader should possess? I’d love to hear of any other qualities that you believe should be on the list. Please feel free to share your views and join the discussion.
This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile the article: Brainy Quote, Harvard Business Review and Winston Churchill.