A good leader is crucial to success, with presidents, CEOs, and supervisors alike ensuring the smooth-running of campaigns and projects with minimal fuss. And while it is easy to spot the characteristics of a bad leader — rude, unhelpful, unorganized — it can be slightly more difficult to work out what good ones have.
Whether you’re wanting to boost your own managerial skills, hire new leaders within your organization, or are looking to progress up the career ladder, these are the three qualities that make up a good leader.
Strong emotional intelligence
Empathy is the ability to understand the needs of others, and being aware of their feelings and emotional responses to change. Also known as emotional intelligence, this is considered “another level of thinking that connects between the logical and emotional areas of your brain”. This is an excellent quality to have as a manager as it means you’ll be more in tune with the rest of your team, and be able to notice any differences in mood which, in turn, will enable you to make any necessary changes to keep them happy. After all, happy employees are productive employees.
However, some people are more naturally empathetic and can easily sense the emotions of those around them, whereas others might not read body language so effectively. For example, individuals on the autism spectrum, such as those with Asperger’s, may find it difficult to immediately understand another’s feelings and emotions, and this could make it seem like they lack empathy. This isn’t to say that they can’t make good leaders, though. Ultimately, being approachable is the most important thing. If employees feel like they can speak to their manager about their issues, these can be quickly resolved to create a more positive working environment.
Good communication skills
As well as being approachable, leaders need to effectively communicate with their colleagues, whether they’re junior or senior. This is crucial in order for a team to work well together and, according to one study, 86% of employees blame ineffective communication for workplace failures. Avoiding this can be achieved by holding team meetings to boost transparency throughout the business, as well as offering regular feedback through one-to-one sessions.
Talking openly within your organization can be key to success as it may improve staff engagement due to an increase in trust between employees and employers. Research has found that only 23% of UK workers trust their leaders and management, which means it’s crucial that you take opportunities to uphold transparency. Keep your team in the loop regarding company activity and news, and ensure that management holds regular check-ins with their teams in order to encourage conversation regarding all areas of your business.
Ability to tactically delegate
A big part of management is being able to properly delegate tasks to their teams. However, there is more to this than simply telling people what to do. A good leader should know the strengths and weaknesses of everyone in their team, enabling them to choose the right person for individual duties. They also need to understand the task at hand and be able to answer any questions — or at least point employees in the right direction.
For new leaders who have been recently promoted, getting to grips with delegation can take some time, so it’s crucial they’re supported during the initial transition period. Ensure communication is kept open while still making sure that individuals have autonomy over the tasks they have been given.
While it can be difficult to find good leaders, taking the time to invest in your existing employees can make it easier for them to naturally progress to managerial positions within your company. This builds trust and makes communication much easier. As well as this, promotions and additional responsibilities can boost morale, making for a more productive work environment that only benefits your business.