The seven traits of effective leaders: How many do you share?
Are leaders born or made? Can you learn superior leadership skills? No one is sure, but experts have noticed seven specific actions that successful leaders carry out, regardless of the organization or cause they lead. Effective leaders,
- Make others feel important. If your goals and decisions are self centered, followers will lose their enthusiasm quickly. Emphasize their strengths and contributions, not your own.
- Promote a vision. Followers need a clear idea of where you’re leading them, and they need to understand why that goal is valuable to them. Your job as a leader is to provide that vision.
- Follow the Golden Rule. Treat your followers the way you enjoy being treated. An abusive leader attracts few loyal followers.
- Admit mistakes. If people suspect that you’re covering up your own errors, they’ll hide their mistakes, too, and you’ll lack valuable information for making decisions.
- Criticize others only in private. Public praise encourages others to excel, but public criticism only embarrasses and alienates everyone.
- Stay close to the action. You need to be visible to the members of your organization. Talk to people, visit other offices and work sites, ask questions, and observe how business is being handled. Often you will gain new insights into your work and find new opportunities for motivating your followers.
- Make a game of competition. The competitive drive can be a valuable tool if you use it correctly. Set team goals, and reward members who meet or exceed them. Examine your failures, and celebrate your group’s successes.