While everyone has a different idea of what makes a good leader, successful CEOs, senior executives, and managers often share the same core leadership qualities. In this article, we'll take a look at the basic character traits possessed by effective leaders.
A confident leader is able to command, control, monitor, and plan performance in a more effective way than a leader who has no confidence. A high degree of confidence is also reflected in a successful leader's decision-making skills, which are key to driving an organization forward. Confident leaders inspire trust and loyalty from their subordinates, which in turn creates a stronger, more productive team.
Honesty is the foundation on which successful organizations are built. Individuals who are honest lead the organization with according to their core beliefs, ethics, and values. This makes them more trustworthy, which increases the organization's trustworthiness as a whole in the eyes of clients and followers.
Good leaders take responsibility for their own actions and how those actions impact the organization as a whole. That said, successful leaders don't take credit for more responsibility than they should; instead, an effective leader knows when to hold his or her subordinates accountable for their actions as well. Fostering accountability among the team in this way ensures everyone takes their work more seriously and makes strides to improve their performance.
Good communication is one of the leadership qualities observed in individuals who rise to the top of organizations. Someone who communicates effectively is able to give and receive information that will benefit every area of the business, whether in the boardroom or at a social function. Communication skills are reflected in an individual's ability to maintain eye contact, listen actively, and present his or her ideas in a clear, concise manner.
It's thought that empathy is the most important of leadership qualities – more important, even, than a high intelligence quotient (IQ). Empathetic leaders are better able to foster strategic relationships, which are fast becoming a critical aspect of conducting business in virtual landscapes. Empathetic leaders are also adept at connecting with the emotions of their employees and motivating them to do their best work for the organization. Fortunately, empathy isn't a fixed trait; it can be developed at any point in a potential leader's life through coaching, training, and other developmental initiatives and opportunities.
When taken together, the above leadership qualities present an individual who possesses the skills and character traits necessary to thrive in today's corporate environment. Consider these qualities when identifying potential leaders who have what it takes to propel the entire organization forward.