What is a good leader? What are the leadership qualities that make a good leader? Let’s find out!
Leadership Quality #1: Communication, empathy and emotional support
Empathy is walking in somebody else’s shoes and seeing the world through their eyes. Do we need empathetic leaders? Absolutely! Because an empathetic leader makes the other person feel seen. And what an amazing feeling it is to feel that the other person understands not what you’re going through but how you are feeling because feelings are universal. An empathetic leader nurtures stronger relationships based on mutual respect and trust. When the leader trusts you, you feel empowered to live up to that level of trust and do your best work. As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said recently in his interview with Ryan Roslanki, CEO of LinkedIn, don’t wait for the next job to do your best work.
Learn more: 6 phrases every good team leader should say to their team members
Leadership Quality #2: Active listening
In this day and age, with all the distractions around us, it’s incredibly easy to zone out and drift away into a world of our own. It’s certainly a place and time for this because it allows the mind to relax and recharge and leaders must know how to carve out ‘me time’ every day. When they are with their team, leaders should practise how to be in the present moment and connected to whoever they are talking to. No phones, no notifications, no calls, no interruptions. Active listening means first and foremost to listen with the intent to understand what the other person is saying and how they are feeling. Ask open-ended and follow-up questions and summarize to make sure you understand correctly.
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Leadership Quality #3: Mentoring
Latest reports highlight the importance of mentorship in the workplace. Professionals in every generation, and especially Gen Z, expect their employers to provide them with opportunities to learn and grow. The job is not just a means to pay the bills, it’s a way to develop and acquire skills and become the best that we can be. The workplace is where we feel safe to bring our whole selves, pursue goals that are important to us and grow in the direction that we want. That’s where mentorship comes in. Be the mentor your team members need. Share your lessons with them and offer them guidance to reach their goals.
Leadership Quality #4: The ability to unite the team around your vision
Every leader has a vision of the future. Bill Gates envisioned a world where there is a computer in every home. Elon Musk envisions a future where humankind expands to Mars and other planets. A leader may start alone but needs a close-knit team to bring the vision to life. And that takes time and effort. First, you need to be able to articulate your vision in a way that every member of your team can understand which is highly challenging. What do you tell them? What do you show them? How do you make them understand? How do you make them believe in your vision as strongly as you do? It’s hard work because people have different views of the world today and based on their previous experiences they will imagine a different world of tomorrow. The answer lies in continuous communication with your team and when possible, showing examples. Talk to them about what your vision is and is not, invite questions, encourage conversations and allow them to be wrong so they can learn from it.