This article was last updated on December 31, 2015
What separates dreamers from entrepreneurs is the ability to successfully execute an idea. Leadership is a part of every business venture and it requires specific skills, personality traits and qualities. A great leader is able to communicate their vision and inspire their team to work towards set goals. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to leadership – here are 10 key qualities which make a leader great.
Top 10 Qualities That Make A Great Leader
Whether it’s a large business or small company, there will be moments when things go bad. And that’s when leaders need to show that they’ve got it under control. Instead of panicking and looking for short-term solutions to existing problems, leaders are able to put out fires, focus on the long-term business strategy and maintain a high team morale.
Great leaders are confident – mostly because they really believe in their vision. They’re able to convince the team that setbacks are a natural part of the process and working towards the larger goal is key to alleviate the negative impact.
Knowing how to delegate tasks
Great leaders have the ability to trust their team members with the business vision and delegate tasks without a second thought. Delegating tasks to the right people or departments is a crucial skill which is essential for business growth.
True leaders are able to recognize strengths of the team and capitalize on them. They take extra care in finding out which tasks team members enjoy – doing something they like is bound to get them more engaged in bringing the vision forward.
Great communication is a must for efficient leadership – how else can leaders deliver their vision, or hold efficient meetings focused on making decisions or solving problems? Leaders are excellent communicators – not only during conversations, but also in written communication like reports and emails.
Great leaders cannot shy away from speaking in public – communicating their ideas and reflections in a coherent and understandable manner is key here. Leadership requires active listening to what others have to say and giving constructive feedback whenever required.
Leaders also realize that communication plays a key role in training new members and creating a productive work environment. There are many different ways in which leaders create an open line of communication – it can be an open door policy at their office, making it a point to talk to the team on a daily basis or being always available to discuss interoffice issues. Trust is built on clear communication and leaders simply know that.
As you can imagine, great leaders are skilled at problem-solving – also when using the expertise of other people. They’re able to capitalize on the knowledge possessed by teams of experts or consultants, using their expertise to solve problems in a most efficient manner.
Nobody should expect leaders to have ready-made solutions to each and every issue. Leaders are simply able to use the knowledge of team members to produce a collective response to any problem experienced while making their business vision come true.
It’s clear that great leaders are emphatic and can easily read and relate to what’s happening in the minds of their team. They know when the team is losing focus and needs to be brought back on board to keep the development of the vision seamless and consistent.
Great leaders are able to ensure that each team member maintains a high level of productivity even when going through personal or professional troubles. Moreover, leaders know how to use sympathy – they use it only in appropriate moments and when specifically required.
Needless to say, great leaders are also great collaborators. They realize that it’s impossible to bring their vision forward on their own – so they focus on the team. Every great leader knows that their team is the most important element in the entire operation.
Great leaders possess knowledge about how to develop a team and keep it productive. They know how to mediate conflicts and disagreements, making sure all team members are united in reaching set goals.
Leaders should naturally exude competence in areas which are key to their vision. Being on top of everything happening in the business will always entail a vast industry awareness and high qualifications.
Leaders know when to rely on expert knowledge, but they’re usually too curious to sit back and ignore legal or financial aspects of business operation, counting on accountants and lawyers to do their job.
Even if they don’t need a certain technical expertise, they’ll be able to listen to their technical staff, encouraging and inspiring them to work towards the vision.
A key personality trait for all great leaders is integrity. They’re honest and loyal by nature – they’re able to easily gain the trust of their team, set the ethical tone on the entire business operation and show that rules are there to be followed.
They realize that business ventures must bring profit, but they’ll never push for more output at the expense of the team’s conscience. Great leaders will never settle for the easiest and legally or ethically-dubious solution – they’ll come up with a variety of solutions to help them achieve key business goals.
Great leaders promote a healthy interoffice lifestyle, encourage their team to live up to the standards displayed in the behavior of leaders. They simply aim to build a great office environment and a workspace that is both friendly and helpful.
Not surprisingly, great leaders are also excellent organizers. Scheduling tasks and organizing a project from the beginning to end is a key skill which leaders simply must possess to start a business operation.
Otherwise they won’t be able to create a productive work environment and solve problems under pressure, while at the same time staying focused on the big picture and correctly prioritizing their own responsibilities. They have an eye for details and boast good memory – no aspect of the business organization is lost on them.
When developing the business vision under pressure, leaders are able to hold the team together and inspire every single member to strive for better results. Engagement is key to business operations and great leaders know that – that’s why they pay lots of attention to their team, providing just the right amount of support and encouragement.
Leaders realize that problems should always be expected – coming up with plan B (and C) is something they do without thinking twice about it. Encountering unexpected problem, leaders radiate a positive and calm attitude to the team, leading them through difficulties in most effective ways.
Even it seems unbelievable, these 10 traits are something we’ve observed in attitudes and behaviors of great leaders over and over again. All of the qualities listed above can be perfected over time – it’s important that leaders are ware of them and cultivate them in their daily lives. Making a business idea a reality takes a lot of courage and conviction – and great leaders are able to share those with the entire team, helping every member to work towards a common goal.
Photo credit: Ben Stanfield via flickr