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Monday, April 27, 2020

5 Traits of an Effective Leader

Being a good leader means setting a confident, positive example for team members to follow, on top of effectively communicating with employees. Strong leadership is beneficial to both your company and employee base, increasing overall happiness and morale while elevating your bottom line. Business News Daily reports that, “...employees who work under great leaders tend to be happier, more productive, and more connected to their organization.”

But what makes an effective leader? For starters, you can inspire your employees to be their best selves by using various Lean-based leadership tools. By avoiding micromanagement, ensuring that employees are well-trained, and promoting a healthy work-life balance, you’re actively demonstrating your strong leadership skills.

Yet that’s only the beginning, and leadership tools are something you’ve likely picked up along the way: In fact, the bulk of effective leaders have particular, inherent characteristics that are an asset to businesses in every industry. Studies show that high-quality leaders are 13 times more likely to outperform their industry counterparts, and are integral to a company’s operations, profitability, employee morale, and more.

The following five examples are just a few of the attributes that allow strong leaders to stand out from the crowd, and excel in their chosen field. Using these traits, effective leaders are also better able to smoothly lead their teams through major business and policy changes.

1. Confidence

Effective leaders are sure of themselves and their decisions, at least on the surface. It can take time to develop confidence, but the good news is that it can be faked, and/or developed over time. For starters, rather than dwelling on your mistakes, acknowledge where you went wrong and ask yourself how you can do better in the future. Negative thoughts and self-talk have no place in the mind of a confident leader.

Improving your confidence may also serve as a useful decision-making tool. As a leader, you’re often tasked with making tough decisions, sometimes on the fly. Having confidence in yourself and your abilities can help fuel your decisiveness and ability to effectively lead your team to greatness.

2. Imagination

The thought process of effective leaders tends to move so fast that it may seem like a superpower. Great leaders are able to quickly process the myriad data tossed their way and offer tangible solutions and ideas, even under the pressure of a looming deadline.

And while intelligence is influenced by a variety of factors, including nutrition and availability of learning resources, imagination stems from both the way we think, and what we know. As you hone your leadership skills, make sure to do plenty of research about your company, its competitors, and the industry itself. Having a large data set in your mental arsenal allows you to more effectively connect the dots when you’re faced with a workplace challenge.

3. Innovation

For many entrepreneurs in leadership positions, an active imagination helps spark innovation. In modern times, for example, the iPhone stands out as one of our greatest (and most innovative) inventions in modern times. It’s common knowledge that the iPhone is the brainchild of Steve Jobs, but how did he come up with the concept of a device that would ultimately change the world?

In fact, Jobs developed the initial iPhone based on the concept of simplicity, and how it connects to design, elegance, and sophistication. His innovative invention is a prime example of effective leadership in action — the iPhone spawned a revolution, and as of January 2020, Jobs’ legacy, and his Apple company, is worth $1.3 trillion.

4. Humanity

For everyday workers, leaders such as Jobs may appear larger than life, enjoying a sort of celebrity status throughout the office or collaborative community. But it's a leader's ability to remain human, humble, and approachable that allows him or her to truly make waves. Employees are more likely to trust a leader who supports and facilitates them, rather than sitting in the corner office with the door closed.

And when employees trust and believe in their leaders, company morale is likely to grow. Employees are more prone to excellence when they work for a company and leaders who they believe in. What’s more, humanity among company leaders can help build a strong and company culture, which benefits all involved, from yourself to your customers.

5. Adaptability

No matter the strength of your company culture, however, change is inevitable. It’s the capacity with which you handle that change that determines the true strength of your leadership. During policy transitions or company reorganization, it’s a leader’s job to facilitate that change.

Your employees may respond to change in varying ways, up to and including the so-called seven stages of change, which begin with shock and frustration, eventually culminating in integration. As a leader, you must be prepared to help guide your employees through every stage, and demonstrate how well you can adapt and thrive through any change.

Final Thoughts

Effective leadership is both a cornerstone of Lean principles and a necessity in today’s constantly evolving business landscape. Whether you’re already in a leadership position or aspire to be, ensuring that you possess a number of positive leadership traits can help ensure your continued success. 

About the Author – Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but business and digital marketing topics are his favorite. When he isn't writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.

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