Leadership And Management:
7 Characteristics Of A Good Leader
Contributed by Chad Barlew
How many times have you seen classifieds that are looking for employees with strong leadership skills? You may have asked yourself exactly what “leadership skills” or “leadership potential” is. Most likely, someone looking for an employee with leadership skills is looking for someone who is focused, reliable, and capable of getting his or her team on board for any challenges that may lie ahead.
Do you have leadership potential? Everyone has the potential to be a group or department leader; however, before you go jumping for the position you should consider several leadership characteristics. If you feel as if you lack strength in the following categories, you may want to work on them, or you may find a way to compensate through excelling in one of the other categories.
The General Characteristics of Leaders
Lead by example. How many times have you heard the cliché, “Do as I say, not as I do?” As a leader, one must never live by this turn of phrase. Always do as you say. If you want your group to work late hours and sacrifice personal time, you must do it as well. If your team makes less money or have fewer benefits, work harder to show them that you earned your rank. Everyone would rather spend more time at home, but inspiration is contagious. If you show your coworkers how much you care about the cause, he or she too will want to pitch in.
Be Organized. Office supply companies stock their shelves full of useful tools to help you improve your organizational skills. If you are comfortable with computers, you can use Microsoft® Excel® to generate spreadsheets and calendars to keep yourself on track. You may also want to look at a Microsoft Outlook® tutorial to better learn how to utilize the calendars and alarms in your e-mail program. Buy a palm device to hot sync with an e-mail program like Microsoft Outlook so that you are always on time and on cue. If you are more comfortable with material organizers, buy a daily planner and color code it. Develop a color system to remind you of what chore is most pressing. For example, label time-sensitive issues red, and work through the color spectrum.
Show Command Strength. Do not be afraid to accept responsibility for the team. Take pride in your work. If you have carefully thought out a game plan, be willing to stick your neck out to get things done. Let your team know that they can come to you at anytime for support. Nothing feels better than assisting a team member in need.
Be the rock. In times of duress and uncertainty, remain calm and composed. A leader should never lash out at his or her team when things fall behind schedule or when things do not pan out the way he or she would like. A leader takes stress with stride and finds solutions to problems. Work with your team to find solutions.
Overstand and understand. A leader will look at a problem and understand it. He or she will feel the stress and evaluate the consequences. However, a team leader must also look at the problem with overstanding. To overstand is to see all sides of an issue and to make an informed decision regarding the problem, the circumstances, and the team’s place in the situation.
Look at the small picture and the big picture. It is always important to see the project as a whole, but remember that every whole is composed of many small elements. Never lose sight of the major goal, but do not allow the fear of a deadline compromise your attention to detail.
Know your team. Evaluate your team and know their strengths and weaknesses. Always work to bring the best out of the people that work around you. We all have an area where we excel, find that area in all of your team members, and utilize it to its fullest potential. Know that the team is the sum of all of its parts.
After reading this list of characteristics, you should generate a list. Look at the list and see with which of the six you can identify. Do you possess all of these traits or only a few? You will want to be honest with yourself. If you feel as if you are weak in one of the categories, generate a list of exercises that might assist you in your quest towards becoming a strong leader. Remember, just as a muscle needs exercise to remain strong, so does a skill. There is no such thing as a natural born leader. People become leaders through experience and effort. ( http://www.videoprofessor.com/resourcelibrary/leadership/7characteristicsofgoodleader.html)