Six Leadership Traits
October 22, 2021
I recently caught up with a young friend who is between jobs. He is moving into a senior management role with a regional mandate. He wanted some guidance and what he should do to be an effective leader.
Having worked with many great leaders, I have had the privilege of observing firsthand how many of them operated. I shared with my young friend six leadership traits that I found distinctive in these great leaders and attempted to emulate in my own leadership journey.
Deal With Your Personal Power, Not The Positional Power
Any leadership role always comes with the power of the title. You need to understand that initially, people will engage with you because of your title. They have no choice. Use your personal power rather than your positional power. Your personal power will increase when you are open, respectful, humble, and positive. Be conscious not to invoke your title to influence change.
Manage Your Self Interest
Control your instinct for self-interest. Instead of focusing on what is good for you, focus on what is good for your team. Think about how you can help each of your team members excel in whatever their role. You will grow in your profile when you lift others to become the best versions of themselves.
What team members don’t want is someone transactional who directs and micro-manages them to do something. Instead, they want someone who trusts them to do what is required, someone who lets them operate at their own pace. When you give autonomy to your team, you send out a message that you trust them. There is nothing more empowering for a team member than the feeling of being trusted.
Give Your Time
The most significant gift you can give your team is your time. Time to coach them when they struggle, time to listen to them when they have something to share, time to celebrate with them when they do something well. When you give your time, you show that you care.
Avoid Taking Credit
One of the key messages I always give my team members is this. “Your mistakes are mine, and your victories are yours.” Look into the mirror when blame is to be taken for something and look at others when credit is to be given. There is no greater satisfaction than basking in the success of your team members.
Be Ok To Be Wrong
Lastly, don’t fuss about trying to be right all the time. As a leader, you will never know more than what your team knows about what they are doing. A good leader is not afraid of being vulnerable and admitting that he or she is wrong.