There’s an interesting saying that people quit bosses not jobs. Leaders have a direct impact on the productivity of their team. Leading effectively is a tough call, but it can be done. Some believe that leaders are made, but from a psychological point of view, that isn’t entirely accurate. All behaviour is learnt, and the behaviour of leading can be learnt. Team members thrive better with a leader who embodies certain qualities, and the most prominent ones are listed here.
Confidence is a must-have in every leader. Leaders without confidence; in their abilities, in themselves or in the vision will find it hard to assert themselves over their team. Assertiveness requires a certain degree of confidence, and without it, it’s difficult to lead a team effectively. Confidence also encourages trust in the leader’s abilities, from the team members. Moreover, confidence is inspiring, and combined with empathy it’s contagious. Teams will find it easier to follow and work with a confident leader.
2. Transparency and Integrity
Integrity is one of the most difficulties qualities to measure using psychometric tests, but easy to observe with someone you work with. It’s a quality that separates ethical professionals and professionals who regularly engage in shady and unethical practises. Transparency and integrity is the number one factor that influences trust from subordinates. In order to perform at their optimum, teams need to trust their leaders, and evidence of transparency and integrity greatly impact that possibility.
Grit, as redefined by Angela Duckworth, is passion and perseverance maintained to realize long term goals. It’s independent of intelligence and effort, and has been considered a key factor in stellar success. Witnessing your leader’s dedication and passion over sustained periods of time will often inspire team members to do the same. Like most other positive sustained behaviours, grit can be passed on to others through modelling. Modelling is when behaviour is imitated because it appeals, consciously or unconsciously to the imitator. Leaders with grit often inspire their followers to act in the same manner.
Delegating tasks to team members, that match their skills and challenges them, empowers the team members. This gives team members the chance to grow and thrive under that leadership, resulting in a high performing team. Employees that are not empowered often underperform and don’t realize their full potential. Team members that aren’t empowered may not work without supervision (because of fear) and don’t take initiative.
This quality is often sacrificed in the race for productiveness and sometimes gives way to dictatorial tendencies. Empathy towards team members allows the leader a shift in perspective. Being able to see through the lenses of team members’ eyes means a leader can understand the team member better. Actively empathetic leaders are easier to confide in and communicate with, for team members. Showing empathy to team members often affects and shapes the organisational culture and sub-culture. Cultivating empathy in the workplace creates a more conducive and emotionally safe work space for employees. Additionally, showing empathy to subordinates may encourage more honest responses and feedback from team members.
Good communication involves many facets and interacts quite intimately with the the other five qualities we discussed earlier. Good communication skills from a leader decrease the possibilities of misunderstanding and miscommunications. Leaders who are able to communicate with clarity and tact where appropriate make it easier for employees or team members to understand what is required of them.
Good communication also includes feedback, which involves both constructive criticism and praise. Feedback allows team members to know they’re doing well, where they need to improve and what to stop doing altogether. Without constant feedback, it is difficult for team members to continuously improve their performance.
Additionally, good communication skills allow leaders to effectively share their vision with their followers. Motivating team members is also much easier with stellar communication skills. Team members will appreciate a leader who can motivate and inspire them to passionately fulfil the mission of the team or organisation.
There are a multitude of other qualities that teams often need from their leaders in order to thrive, but these six rank high. Being confident, having integrity, showing empathy, grittiness, communicating well and being empowering are essential qualities that every team member will appreciate from their team leader.