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What Makes a Good Leader?

Girl with Curly hair wearing eye glasses

Anyone can be a leader. But what makes a good leader? A good leader has a specific blend of skills. But they also possess that spark, that something special that is hard to put into words.

How to be a good leader

Learning to be a good leader, and ideally an authentic leader, requires a number of different skills and qualities, but also other fundamentals that need to be mastered. If you’re currently the manager or business owner, how do you move to being the leader of your business?

Is it the courage that you display? Is it your business acumen? Your expert knowledge? Your ability to delegate and be organised?

“Being too busy / lack of capacity is the single biggest hurdle to improvement as a leader” - Mindshop

The 10 qualities of being a good leader

Truly authentic leaders have a blend of skills and qualities, but also possess that spark, that something special that is hard to put into words and even harder to define.

Good leaders are always looking for continuous improvement. Ways that they can improve their capabilities and skills. They’re looking for any opportunity to embrace new habits and develop their mindset.

The 2020 Mindshop High Performance report identifies ten leadership qualities of an authentic leader, which include:

  1. Results
  2. Resilience
  3. Strategy
  4. Coaching ability
  5. Business acumen
  6. Self discipline
  7. Communication and networking
  8. Implementation
  9. Self confidence and energy
  10. Values

1. Good leaders get results

As a leader, success can be measured in a variety of ways. From looking at your financial performance, diversity and inclusion, efficiency gains, business growth, staff retention and employing innovation to develop new ideas and systems.

Many leaders spend too much time learning new leadership strategies. Attending new workshops and courses, but finding it difficult to translate this new knowledge into direct results, which is not always feasible, resulting in the new learnings feeling like a waste of time.

2. Building resilience

Resilience is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. Instead of trying to continuously load yourself up with new work, focus instead on improving your ability to handle stressful situations and delegating effectively. Improving your resilience muscles by working on improving your mindset and taking care of yourself can create the change you need to become a more effective leader.

3. Developing strategy

Any leader can develop a strategy. The difference between whether you develop an effective and realistic strategy lies in how well it can be followed and implemented. Have you communicated your overall business strategy with your team? Have you got their buy in? A good leader understands the importance of developing a strategy that the whole team embraces and believes in.`

Related Content: 3 Tips To Ensure Your Employees Execute Your Strategy

woman discussing infront of her team

4. What is your coaching ability?

Being a leader isn’t just about heading up your business, creating a vision and hoping your team will come along for the ride. Good leaders know that an annual performance review and occasionally touching base throughout the year doesn’t lead to the quality outcomes that they desire. You need to be able to coach and guide your team and empower them to see the difference that they bring to your clients and the business.

It’s also important that as a leader you can evaluate the full capabilities of your team. Employees with great skills who may not be performing well could be in the wrong position in your business. Your challenge is to identify this and find a way to more effectively utilise their skillset in your business. Additionally, it’s critical to identify any gaps in your resources to ensure your business is performing as effectively as it can. This also means you should not be afraid to jump in and get your hands dirty when you need to, as your employees will appreciate a leader who can show how it’s done, and lead by example.

5. Harnessing your business acumen

Throughout your career, you will have developed business acumen to help you navigate different business situations. Being a good leader means that you can use your business acumen effectively, to deal with change, disruption and other areas that have the ability to significantly impact your business. Whether it is the ever changing technology landscape, new competitors entering the market, or the always changing needs of your customers, it is important that you continue to harness and develop your business acumen and how to handle the consistent change that is inevitable in business.

6. Practicing self-discipline

Are you a leader who consistently practices self-discipline? The standards that you hold your team to, you must also ensure that you hold yourself to. Are you constantly turning up to meetings late? It’s hard to expect your employees to be on time for meetings when the example you’re setting by being late shows that you don’t value their time. Practicing self-discipline across all areas of your business is an important quality of a good leader.

happy man looking at yellow folder

7. Communication is the key to success

Communication is the key to success. Without effective communication, in any area of your life, things start to falter. Clear, open and honest communication by yourself and your team is critical to ensuring your business operates efficiently and effectively.

As a leader, you should be consistently focused on improving your communication. This includes setting realistic expectations for your team’s communication, and leading by example with how you communicate with them, and with clients. This can assist in avoiding potential issues that may arise from defensive or emotional responses, poor attitudes and staff unable to deal with lack of performance or less than stellar behaviour.

8. Implement, implement, implement

So often leaders are great at setting strategy, but once it comes time to implement, everything seems to fall apart, or life goes on ‘business as usual’. Implementation and taking action is a key step in achieving success as a good leader. You need to jump in, roll up your sleeves and work closely with your team to ensure that the strategy that has been set is implemented. It will also allow you to evaluate first-hand whether your team has all the tools and resources they need to meet the required outcomes.

Related Content: How To Turn Strategy Into Action

9. Harnessing your self confidence and energy

There’s nothing like a good leader who is full of energy and drive, to empower their team. Harnessing your self confidence and finding that inner spark will very often have a flow on effect to others within your team. By maintaining consistent energy, you’re less likely to fall victim to any energy vampires in your business (or personal life), as you are well equipped with strategies to combat any hurdles.

10. Living your values

Living your values helps with any decision you need to make in your life. A good leader knows exactly what they stand for, and by evaluating a situation or decision against their values, can instantly recognise when something does, or doesn’t fit with their values.

Your values are the essence of who you are. By staying true to your values, you are showing not only your team, but the outside world, who you are and what is important to you. If you falter on your values with certain members of your team, then others will instantly recognise this, which then creates potential trust issues.

Being a good leader requires consistently upholding your values, even when you have to make tough decisions in your business, or your life.

team leader discussing in front of his team

How good are your leadership skills?

Regardless of whether you run a business, manage or are part of a team, everyone leads in some way. However, how you lead and your leadership style can vary greatly. Are you a visionary, a great implementer, a strategic thinker or a team coach?

What are the fundamental qualities that set great leaders apart? Have you ever taken the time to really understand what your leadership strengths and weaknesses are?

If you’ve been thinking about improving your leadership skills, then working one-on-one with a business coach can help you to really understand things from a new perspective. Our personalised business coaching programs can be tailored to you and your individual needs, to really get to the heart of improving your leadership skills, and your business.

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