Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington and celebrated British general once said that 50 000 men plus Napoleon equals 100 000 men. What this military mastermind meant by that is that a great leader can make his men significantly more effective. The rule is applicable to the world of modern business. Regardless of your line of work there is nothing that can improve your business as a proper leadership can. However, one question remains unresolved: what is it that makes an efficient leader. Well, this question is not an easy one to answer but most people would agree that there are 6 universal traits that a true leader should possess. – This article is inspired by Ivan’s 7 Characteristics of Insanely Successful Entrepreneurs published in July 2015.
1. Being ready for communication
First of all, coordination is the main goal of an efficient leader. This coordination is most often achieved through proper communication. In this manner, a leader functions as a kind of conductor of all the information that flows around his or hers, office or workplace. A true leader not only gives instructions to everyone around him but also receives a feedback (positive as well as negative). This is why a proper leader is often one who always listens before he speaks.
Now in order to command respect, whether your employees love you or not, you need to be a figure of a certain authority. You as a leader naturally demand a certain amount of trust from your employees. This trust however needs to be earned. When the going gets tough a true leader is not the one yelling forward but the one who utters follow me. Your employees need to think of you as their safety net in order to rely on your skill and abilities. This is why you simply must establish yourself as a person of authority.
Being confident about your abilities is an absolute imperative for one to become a great leader. We already talked about being a figure of authority, however this is something that is impossible to achieve without having enough confidence. Confidence on the other side is easiest to gain through knowledge. This is why a proper leadership training is of an essence. Just think of it this way, even though experience gained through dealing with tricky situations is by far the best teacher, it is always a great idea to enter these situations full of confidence.
Now, as we already said, more often than not your team will be looking up to you. Because of this it is of essence that you remain optimistic even in the darkest of hours. If you feel like everything is at the point of no return, your beaming optimism just might inspire your team to save the day. Popular proverb (and one of the greatest wisdoms ever uttered) states that when the going gets tough the tough get going. You would be surprised just how much can be salvaged even from the gravest situation if you have the right dosage of optimism in your veins.
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Every now and then, you will find yourself in a situation you were not prepared to deal with. When this happens you will just have to improvise. This is why creativity is one of the essential traits of an efficient leader. It is the ability to find the best solution in a completely unfamiliar situation. Being able to find the right course of action when all obvious options for some reason fail is what being resourceful actually means.
Careful preparation and training will only take you so far and sometimes you will simply be forced to follow your guts. Listening to your intuition and making the right call based on a feeling you have is what it takes in order to succeed. Sooner or later, regardless of how cautious you are, you will be forced to make a risk. When this hour finally arrives it is a leaders job to resort to his or hers intuition and save the day. Although often unreliable, this trait is an absolute must in the world of modern business.
In the end, a true leader must always realize that a first step towards improving business is self-improvement. Asking a question what my employees can do to improve their productivity is never the right one to ask. The question is what you can do to help your employees be more productive. This is what leadership is all about.