What it takes to be a Successful Leader?

A leader braves the darkness to illuminate the path of his team members – ————– Garima Jha

Leading a team is not easy. According to a study published by GALLUP a Washington based analytics and advisory company, about 24% of the employees are actively disengaged as a result of poor management leading to poor performance and reduced levels of productivity.

This clearly explains why a good leader is important to an organisation Leaders are exposed to multiple challenges. In a fast moving world where there is immense pressure to perform, deliver and supersede the role of a leader is crucial. Leading means identifying,managing, optimising the skills and energies of a group of people with diverse capabilities to survive, sustain and thrive in an exceedingly competitive environment.

Leaders are many but there are only few who have the power to transform the lives of people through their charisma and enigmatic presence. So let us find out what it takes to be a successful leader?

In a survey conducted by consulting firm Robert Half, Tim Hird , the executive director of Robert Half Management Resource said, ” Leaders who act with integrity and treat people well help maximise the contributions of their employees and build goodwill for their organisation.

The essence of true leadership is beautifully captured by Maya Angelou in the following words:

“I have learnt that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Based on research and several surveys, it is found that the following 8 qualities are common to most successful leaders:

1. Trust others and be trustworthy : A leader can make a difference in the performance of the team by winning the trust of his team members and also by trusting his people. While vision, mission and drive for excellence are the trademark of a leader, trust is one quality that helps in fostering a sense of oneness and belonging among the team members. Trust is the binding force that connects people to each other.

2. Don’t be just wordily wise: Add value to your words of wisdom through actions. Lead by action. Do what you say and say what you do. When it comes to leading, a lot depends on the habits and behaviour that you demonstrate not what you preach. Great leaders always practice high moral and ethical standards.

3. Being Visionary is not enough: Being visionary certainly qualifies one to be a leader but a real leader is one who knows how to translate visions into reality. Sharing the details with the team members imparts them clarity about your vision. Sharing invites participation and involvement.

4. Be open to ideas: Caring about the opinion of others makes them feel valuable. Being valuable is what people aspire for. Value the opinion of others before you impose your opinion on them. Remember a team leader can also be a team player.

5. Acknowledge failures, instil a sense of security: Praise, awards, accolades, appreciation who doesn’t want all this? People are hungry for appreciation but we must not forget that they are afraid of failure. A good leader knows not only to honour and recognise the achievements but also to accept and acknowledge failure. He knows how supporting, encouraging and motivating people can bolster their self-esteem and help them overcome their fears and frustration. A great leader is one who is able to instil a sense of security in his people and lead them to outgrow their potential and push their boundaries.

6. Lead by learning : This might sound like a cliché but there is no denying the fact that ‘If you stop learning, you stop growing. ‘ So keep alive the spirit of learning. Learn from your experiences, your people and your surroundings. Best way is to learn from your mistakes. Develop a culture of learning for all.

7. Impartiality and fairness : Favouring few people also means losing trust of others. Being impartial in judgment and decision making is the mark of a true leader. People are willing to be led by someone who is just and fair in his dealings rather than someone who is manipulative and partial. Impartial attitude promotes good relations and builds trust within the team.

8. Good Communication: Simon Sinek said, “Great leaders communicate and great communicators lead” If a leader cannot speak clearly, express ideas accurately then he cannot send across his message to the people. On the other hand if a leader does not have great listening skills then he will fail to understand the ideas and feelings of his people. A gap in communication is the biggest barrier between people. Effective communication is thus the key to becoming an influential leader and connecting to the team.

So if you want to become a successful leader start working on your personality right now. You have it all , you just have to adopt the right attitude and build on your strengths. A right balance of all these qualities can lead you towards your leadership goals.

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