At Field Nation, we work with great leaders all the time – whether in our own company, business owners looking for IT solutions, or IT contractors who have set out to work for themselves. We’re going so far as to say that we think good leadership starts from within – in the person’s heart, soul, and personality – the very things that make the man or woman who they are. Take a look at the top ten traits we see in the great leaders we work with.
1) Well educated – There may not be a fancy degree on the wall behind the desk, but good leaders know their stuff and know it well. They are also always learning and expanding their knowledge base to stay on top of their game.
2) Flexible and open to change – Good leaders know when to bend the rules, make new rules, and change direction so as not to fall in a rut. Good leaders will also know how to handle themselves, and their employees, in unknown territory or uncertain circumstances.
3) Good communicator – Leaders know how to listen as well as speak. They have to be able to take criticism and feedback in stride. Leadership requires the ability to let others know what is expected of them and to tell them how well they are meeting those expectations. Lastly, a good leader is always respectful and mindful that team mates are the support system. As such, they deserve to be treated with courtesy and professionalism.
4) Enthusiasm and optimism – Excitement is uncontainable. It’s contagious. It’s the very thing that keeps many going when things get tough. And giving your employees a vision of an exciting future, even if that future is only a few years away, will give them the enthusiasm and optimistic outlook they need to keep at the daily grind.
5) Confidence – Good leaders ooze confidence. They are also confident enough to accept responsibility when things don’t turn out as well as they should. And then they have the confidence to do whatever they can to address the issue and make whatever reparations are necessary.
6) Responsibility – There is nothing worse than a leader who throws their subordinates under the bus when things go wrong, and takes all the credit when things go right. Good leadership requires the humility to admit that without those subordinates, you wouldn’t be where you are. And it takes the guts to stand up and accept the blame when problems arise.
7) Self-awareness – Leadership can be a heavy mantle to wear, but a good leader is aware of both their limitations and their abilities. Good leaders delegate, and good leaders trust that those to whom they delegate are able to do the job. Good leaders are also aware of their status as a leader and what makes them fit for the position. They don’t use this awareness to lord it over their subordinates, but rather to make themselves available as guides, mentors, assistance, and evaluators.
8) Proactive – It’s always better to be prepared than to be perplexed by a turn of events. A good leader has tried to foresee all possibilities and address them, at least in some form of plan or procedure, before they occur. Panic is never a good look on a leader.
9) Resourceful – Good leaders know how to use whatever they have at hand to their best advantage. They also know how to find answers or help when they haven’t got a clue. Best yet, they know how to get the best out of their subordinates, sometimes even more than they knew they could give.
10) Consistent – Confidence, respect, enthusiasm, optimism, humility, guts, and excellence – all can and will be cultivated in your employees if you consistently display these qualities yourself. If your subordinates see you always striving to be your best, or at least being humble enough to apologize when you aren’t, they will be more motivated to strive for their best, too.
Some say that leaders aren’t born, they’re made. It can be a challenge to keep up all of these great leadership qualities, but to a great leader, that’s part of the joy of it.