Before we get into the nitty gritty, I’d like to emphasize the word “skills” in this blog post. I wanted to shy away from using the words “traits” or “characteristics” because skill more accurately describes the ability to be a great leader. It can be learned, it can be practiced, and it can be mastered! A leader is not someone who is naturally the loudest or bossiest of the bunch, as it may be intuitive to think. Here are 5 of the most important skills I believe it takes to be an effective leader:
- Passion and enthusiasm. This might not sound like a skill at first, but anyone who needs to motivate a group of people will quickly learn that it must be practiced! In order to get others up and moving, you have to be excited about an idea yourself. The best way to do this is to first and foremost, promote ideas you are truly passionate about. In these cases, your authenticity will shine through. However, sometimes you may have to get people on board with an important task or project that you are not as passionate about – in these cases, be honest and enthusiastic about why the project is so important. Showing enthusiasm isn’t faking it – it’s having a contagious energy and positivity that will help other to do the same.
- Listening: an open-door policy. As an active CEO running multi-million-dollar international companies, one of my success mantras has been my “open-door policy” with my teams. This means that any one on our teams, whether it was a sales representative, accounting associate, or warehouse staff member – was welcome to talk with me about issues in their department or with the company at any time. It may have been easier to follow the status quo and have a hierarchical management system. However, let me tell you that just being able to listen and show care in this way was so much more effective in building an environment of trust and cooperation.
- Following through on your word. There’s nothing worse than having a friend or associate who does not take action after making a promise, much less a leader. This skill is simple, and yet it goes a long way. Keeping your promises as a leader demonstrates stability, organization, and confidence. Stability is important because when you set a standard for following through on your word, people can count on you to do the same in the future. Organization means that when you have an idea you are excited about – it’s not an empty promise. You will work through all the logistics it takes to make it happen. Finally, confidence is so important especially in times of hardship. Your team members will look to you for guidance and support when the future is uncertain. Make it a habit now to follow through on your word with anyone you interact with in order to master this skill.
- Get good at puzzles: fitting your ideas in with those of your team. The best part about working in a team is being able to listen to everyone’s ideas and collaborate to make something truly amazing come out of it. Your job as a leader is to moderate this process and dictate the final result that comes out of it. Weigh other’s ideas just as heavily as your own, and give them leeway to change and adapt your own original ideas. Solving these types of puzzles is a big responsibility, but it all comes with practice and time!
- The Golden Rule. Finally, in all that we do as friends, family members, co-workers, and leaders – we should always treat others with respect and dignity, as we would expect for ourselves. Sometimes it may be easy to get caught up in the “power trip” that we forget our team members and employees are people too! They deserve our utmost respect and care. Leading by example is the best way to set this standard for anyone you are working with.
I hope these five skills demonstrate to you that a leader is more than just someone who is loud, outgoing, or bossy. Being a true leader requires being able to take initiative, inspire your team, collaborate, and develop trusting and meaningful relationships. Wherever you are on your journey as an entrepreneur or just as a team-player in general, I hope you find these suggestions helpful for you! If you are a CEO or business owner who would like to talk more with me about quality leadership, I’d love to chat with you. Please feel free to schedule a free Discovery Call with me today. As always, thank you so much for reading!
Blessings and Cheers,