The 8 most important characteristics of a good leader

leadership development consulting

What are the most important qualities of a good leader? A simple question … which is not so easy to answer. How do you recognize whether you are up to the tasks of a manager? We have compiled the most important points for you.

A strong manager has the talent to have people follow him willingly. Every company needs a strong personality at every management level that has the qualities of a good executive. But how do you, as a managing director, know if someone is suitable for your new position as a senior manager?

1. Do you have a vision?

A leader with a vision has a clear picture of where he or she wants to go and how this goal can be achieved. But that alone is not enough. Managers have to share their ideas with others. Jack Welch, former Managing Director of General Electric Co. says: “Good leaders shape a vision, communicate it, pursue it with burning ambition and drive it to completion.” A leader must be able to communicate his vision in a way that customers and employees believe. He must find clear and passionate words and infect people with them.

2. Acting instead of analyzing

If you have a vision, you have to be able to implement it. A leader does not suffer from “analysis paralysis” but subordinates everything to the vision. As a leader, you need to be able to inspire and mobilize your fellow campaigners. Be the engine that drives new ideas. If this engine fails, the whole project comes to a standstill. This gives you a lot of responsibility, but you can also do a lot of things. Don’t let this put you off. It can be a great experience to experience how one’s own vision causes others to be motivated to act and a small spark suddenly ignites a big fire. Would you say that you always drive and complete tasks with the necessary time and energy? A good manager does everything to take the next step towards vision and thus sets a good example. The leader shows his team that time spent at work does not have to be served, but that there is always a chance of achieving something great.

3. Integrity and fairness

A person of integrity represents the same values privately and publicly. Convey trustworthiness and leave no doubt in the minds of your colleagues that your word is valid. This means honest action, predictable reactions, controlled emotions and any absence of rage. An executive with balanced integrity is much more tangible for employees. It is also important to be fair. Fairness means consistently measuring others with the same measure. A leader must hear all opinions before making a judgement. He should avoid making decisions without the necessary data.

4. Praise is duty

Be honest, is it easy for you to praise others for their achievements? And would you describe yourself as self-confident but modest? These points are essential to establishing yourself as a leader. What it means is to pay tribute where it is needed. Always strive to distribute recognition for success among your employees as much as possible. On the other hand, a good manager assumes professional responsibility for mistakes. In this way the employees feel secure, and this measure also welds the team together. A nice motto: “Spread the fame and take the blame.” Modest managers also realize that they are neither better nor worse than the rest of the team. Such leaders are not overly modest, but rather try to pull the others along.

5. Pure openness

This means listening and being open to new ideas – even if they are not necessarily in line with current ways of thinking. Good leaders are able to accept, pick up and apply ideas from employees. Openness builds mutual respect and trust between boss and employees. This also keeps the team supplied with fresh ideas at all times. Do you think Steve Jobs had all the ideas for his products and campaigns himself? We didn’t.

6. Creativity prevents stagnation

The ability to “think outside the box” is important as a boss when resourceful solutions to a problem are required. Creativity allows managers to see things that others can’t. In this way, the team can be steered in new directions. The most important question a boss can ask is: “What if? The worst thing a manager can say is: “I know it’s probably a stupid question…”.

7. Assertiveness light

The following applies here: assertiveness is not synonymous with aggressiveness. Rather, it means the ability to express clearly what one expects in order to avoid misunderstandings. A manager must be able to assert himself in order to achieve the desired results. It is also important to understand what employees expect from their boss. In addition reflected self-confidence and self-control are enormously important. They should not appear like a dictator who conveys nothing to his employees except: orders, orders, orders. Somebody has to set the tone, no question. Otherwise there is no structure that projects need in order to function. But please always with a lot of respect.

8. Sense of humor

We Americans are always happy to be accused of this point. The dogged punctuality fanatics with regular obsession and structure. All this has its advantages, but with a little humor you can usually work a little more relaxed. It is important to solve tensions, defuse hostilities or break through boredom. Effective leaders know how to use humor to motivate employees Humor is not a contradiction to dutiful work. On the contrary. Working under a humorous manager is much more relaxed and will lead to more commitment from employees, as it conveys humanity. And that is something that you as a manager should never lose.

And how would you rate yourself? Use the points listed above to develop yourself further. Or, the next time you fill a top position, consider whether the person sitting in front of you has some of these qualities. Surely this is not immediately apparent in a conversation, but if you have the points in mind, you can steer the conversation in the right direction.

Published by Dave John

Decade of work experience in leadership consulting with strong focus on talent acquisition & assessment across different industries and geographies.

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