Co-founder of WPdots.io

How to Be a Great Leader: 6 Qualities to Improve

Sitting in a corner office and delegating tasks is what anyone can do pretty well, but there is more to great leadership than that. 

Not only great leaders tend to influence their team members but also their organization as a whole. It is seen that workers who work under effective leadership tend to be more connected and productive, which is directly related to any business success. 

To improve your employees’ engagement and success, you must learn to be a good leader. You must start figuring out your strengths, weaknesses, and motivations and then start connecting with your team members by giving and getting feedback, encouraging employees’ growth and development, and facilitating an environment of open communication with them.

Here’s how to become a great leader

Being a leader is like being a parent as there is no manual, no step-by-step approach. 

You have to develop some attributes to be a good leader. Here, we will enlighten some of the leading qualities a leader should possess and improve, which could lift their success.

1. Empowering Your Team

The first attribute of becoming a great leader is encouraging your employees in their personal and professional growth. 

You should act as your team’s cheerleader to help them improve and succeed. You can do so by setting aside a small budget to dedicate to the growth and empowerment of your employees. 

Various options such as in-person, virtual, and on-demand options are there to help your employees learn new skills and further enhance existing ones. Then, help them infuse those skills into the work they do. 

Becoming a leader takes financial investment in your employee’s growth, and you have to invest emotionally as well. You could do that by offering them challenging opportunities and sufficient support to achieve those goals. 

Since employees like to be challenged and enjoy overcoming those challenges, so, if you do that, you will only motivate and inspire them to take on new challenges and do their best. 

To be a great leader, you should never fear encouraging the freedom and creativity of your employees. Just have faith in them and provide them with the best opportunities to learn and grow. Believe it or not, they will keep surprising you with how much they can accomplish. 

Another essential attribute of a great leader includes offering rewards and effective recognition to help employees feel appreciated for their accomplishments

Since happy employees tend to work better, you should do whatever it takes to delight them. 

2. Sense of Urgency

Becoming a good leader is about being calm in every circumstance while having a good sense of urgency since organizations are always facing a flood of change and great leaders are the ones that help keep the team and company up to date.

Change is inevitable, so the leaders, being the agents of change, must alert their employees, about why and how a change must occur, and why change is no longer optional but compulsory. In other words, this may involve making rapid changes to the existing conditions. 

So, why is urgency critical to any change efforts? Urgency is critical because effective organizational change can never occur without the meaningful cooperation of the employees

This is why building a sense of urgency for any needed change is the key effort you must make as a leader to get the cooperation of your employees. 

You, as a leader could build a sense of urgency by telling your team that the status quo is a dangerous place to live in and why it isn’t in anyone’s best interest for the organization to remain in its existing condition. 

This could be done through effective communication with your employees such as honest discussions about sharing relevant customer and financial data, competitive realities, and the current market, crises, and opportunities facing the organization. 

By giving a reality check of the dangers of keeping the status quo and a captivating picture of an ideal future, leaders could greatly increase their chances of winning the employees’ commitment to an inevitable change effort.

3. Creating and Communicating a Vision

No matter how wonderful your vision statement is, it is useless if you can’t effectively communicate it with your employees

Leaders are responsible for developing and executing a potential strategy for communicating a vision. Your vision statement outlines your goals to transform your organization. It is inspirational. 

You may have described it to your employees in initial meetings but that’s not enough. Communicating your vision consistently is crucial. Here, we have come up with some of the best tips to help you engage your employees by communicating vision effectually. 

Keep it Simple and Precise with Storytelling.

Illustrating a story for communicating your organizational vision is one of the highly effective strategies if you want to see a change happen smoothly. 

Not only does it help listeners understand the current state and the future vision but also develops the emotional connection needed to provoke employee engagement.

With compelling stories, leaders can develop trust and reinforce their vision. A great vision story should be simple to avoid confusion and be told in a few minutes.

Use Multiple Channels

If you want to communicate vision effectively, you must make it a habit to communicate it before, during, and after every change. 

Use multiple channels to communicate your vision such as one-to-ones, newsletters, group presentations, notice boards, team meetings,
informational conversations, emails, etc. 

Whatever channel you use, please ensure you’re communicating your vision consistently and the message remains the same.  

Be Authentic

To be a great leader actually calls for creating an environment of trust with your employees

The authenticity of leadership is where leaders are truthful when circumstances are unfavorable, keep their promises, act in line with the organizational values, and build trust and transparency to overcome obstacles in the path of change. 

Solicit Feedback

It is only through feedback that you can know whether or not your people have understood your vision. 

It is crucial to keep getting feedback to ensure that your endeavors in communicating your vision have not dropped on deaf ears, or are misunderstood and that they won’t be misrepresented anymore. 

So, keep getting feedback more often than not!

Repeat, and Repeat, and Repeat

As you know, repetition strengthens memory so a vision repeated through multiple channels will get affirmed and acknowledged. 

Storytelling techniques come in handy when communicating a vision in order to ensure that the vision remains inspirational and exciting. 

4. Listening Effectively

Listening is one of the most important attributes a good leader can have. 

Not just hear your people but actually listen to them. When your people seek more support, attention, and feedback, you will become more conscious about their individual needs. 

And that will more effectively stimulate the overall performance of your organization. Leaders who effectively listen to their employees tend to create healthy relationships that breed loyalty. 

You can never figure out what your people are thinking about, what are the problems they’re facing, and how to troubleshoot their issues, unless you’re all ears and giving full attention to them. 

Listening is among those leadership responsibilities that are rarely mentioned in the job description

Leaders who listen to their people are better positioned to lead their multigenerational and increasingly diverse workforce. Gone are the days when the “one-approach-fits-all” theory worked well for organizations. Now, those who master the art of listening are destined to be the more compassionate leaders. 

Here are some forms of effective listening you need to master in your pursuit of becoming a leader. 

Engage Yourself

Being a leader you need to be expansively mindful of your surroundings. 

So, engage yourself in dialogues with your team members. Let your people share their opinions fearlessly. Ask questions and motivate them to expand and elaborate upon their standpoints. 

Don’t try to mold anyone’s unique ways of expression, rather, embrace their style and encourage them to be actively and confidently participating in team meetings. 

Use encouraging body gestures and eye contact whenever your employees reach out to you to share their perspectives. In the end, this is all worth it!

Show Care

Always care about your people because employees tend to exceed your expectations and work harder if they feel that you take good care of them. 

You will end up becoming a bad leader if you view your team mere as resources or tools in the path of your success. Focus on build long-term relationships with your employees and always extend your hand in their personal and professional hardships.

Don’t Interrupt

Try not to be a leader who rudely interrupts the trail of thoughts of their valuable employees. 

Compassionate leaders never interrupt the course of the dialogue. They know that disengagement results from interruption, so they always encourage two-way communication. By being patient listeners, they tend to earn respect from their peers. 

5. Self-Awareness and Humility

While these are more inwardly focused attributes, self-awareness and humility are more than necessary to become a good leader. 

Always exercise humility when communicating with your employees. Humility in its true sense is seeing things. It’s the capability of seeing the truth of oneself without self-justification. 

In other words, to be truly humble is actually a radical self-awareness. So how can you get radical self-awareness if you are caught in your self-justifying beliefs? 

You should believe that to get out of your self-justifying beliefs you must see others as people who matter exactly as much as you yourself do. You will see yourself more clearly when you start seeing others more clearly. That’s how it is! That’s how to become a leader! That’s how to be a great leader!

The better you know about yourself and identify your strengths and weaknesses, the better and more effective you can be as a leader. 

One of the most effective ways to start seeing others just as you see yourself is by getting inquisitive about them. 

What are their goals, needs, and headaches? What’s happening with them? What do they like? What do they dislike? Etc. You will achieve self-awareness by getting curious about them. 

6. Encouraging Open Communication

You will end up becoming a bad leader with poor communication skills. 

Since great leadership involves individual conversations with every single group member, you must be able to communicate your vision to your followers effectively. 

Good leaders should express concerns and sincere care for the group members both verbally as well as nonverbally. This will keep your followers inspired and motivated. Moreover, with open communication, you can ensure that your employees feel capable of contributing and receiving recognition for their accomplishments.

If you want to be a successful leader; you have to think with clarity, share information, and express ideas with a huge audience. You need to learn the art of handling rapid flows of information occurring among stakeholders, partners, influencers, and customers. 

Here are some tips for you to communicate more effectively with your employees:

Simplify and Be Direct

Be direct and say exactly what you mean since hiding behind complexity can end up sabotaging your goals. It becomes even more important when you’re communicating with your team in a virtual setting. 

Communicate Relentlessly

To become a good leader, you have to shed all bits of arrogance and detachment and reach out to every member of the group. 

You need to communicate your vision, ideas, thoughts, and information clearly and frequently. You should always keep finding ways to help streamline the process of communication with your team.

Affirm with Actions

Although smart leaders seem to master the craft of language, presenting logical arguments, and speaking clearly; accomplished leaders also understand that effective communication is more than just words

Your credibility will be shot if your followers hear you saying one thing and see you doing another. Since your actions and behavior end up communicating a world of information, you have to be clear in sending messages even when you aren’t speaking a word. 

Your team needs to trust you with your actions. 

Illustrate Through Stories

By telling good compelling stories, not only could you give life to your vision and goals but people would easily refer to a quote or image or repeat a story than talk about a project plan, strategy document, or mission statement. This is a key to effective communication as well. 

Listen and Appreciate Input

To be a great leader you must learn to do 20% of the talking and 80% of the listening so your people feel comfortable offering ideas and solutions to you. Let the people you lead know, that their ideas have as much value as themselves. 

Create psychological safety and show empathy and respect for your team members so they can feel emotionally connected with you. Make your people most comfortable talking to you. This is a key to effective leadership!

Putting it All Together: How to be a Leader

Leadership is a social process. Not only does it involve a charismatic and strong individual, but also a group of dedicated people working collectively to succeed together. 

If you fear that you lack some of the qualities we have mentioned above, don’t panic! You can always develop and improve these attributes. Remember, determination is the key! Just keep trying and you will make it! We wish you good luck on your path to becoming a successful leader! Cheers!