There have been hundreds of thousands of leaders throughout history—and probably millions today, leading in various government and workforce capacities. What are some of the traits that are common to good and effective leaders?
- Integrity: If a leader isn’t honest and doesn’t adhere to a moral code, how can they willingly expect other people to follow them? When people see that a person walks the walk in addition to talking the talk, they have more respect for that person, and more natural desire to follow them.
- Confidence. A good leader is confident in their ability to lead. If they’re timid and afraid, nobody is going to feel confident following them. A leader who speaks with assertion will find their orders followed effectively, while a leader who hems and haws will frequently open themselves up to negotiation.
- Commitment. A good leader needs to have resolute commitment to their goals if they want their team to unflaggingly follow them uphill. When a leader shows passion, drive, and a willingness to get their hands dirty, the team will rally to the cause.
- Communication. It’s incredibly frustrating to work with someone who doesn’t clearly spell out what they want. While miscommunication has literally lost battles and felled empires, good communication can help a leader and their team carry out a mission effectively.
- Accountability. Nobody wants to work for someone who points fingers and passes the buck. It’s whiny, childish, and almost pitiful to see someone in power try and lay the blame on others, especially when those others are the proverbial little people beneath them. By contrast, people appreciate the humility that comes with a sense of accountability—they find it endearing and bonding.
- Empathy. The best of leaders not only commands a team—they know their team. A leader who knows names, faces, and stories is someone with a team that feels appreciated, which in turn translates into success.
- Empowerment. You may think that people have a natural tendency to avoid work, but that’s not entirely true. People actually want to feel useful, and appreciate a leader who can empower them to make the right choices without micromanaging.
- Intelligence. You don’t have to be the brightest crayon in the box about everything, but you better know what you’re talking about if you’re a leader—and if you don’t, at least surround yourself with people who do.