A leader is someone who has the ability to direct and influence others and leadership is about guiding them to accomplish a common task or objective whilst encouraging and helping them throughout the process.
There is a misconception that leader are born, and not made. Whilst this is true for some, leadership can be developed through embracing the mindset, training, and knowledge of what a good leader looks like. Just because someone is a “born leader”, it doesn’t mean they are a proud, useful, or effective leader either. The nature of a leader is multifaceted.
What are the qualities and nature of a leader
A leader binds a group together with a shared, common goal. They provide vision, clarity, representation and direction for all involved, help reduce uncertainty, influence and focus stakeholder attention and output, offer directive and supportive behaviour and guidelines, and enforce culture.
They are courageous and committed to what it is they want to achieve and are inspirational to those that follow them. They are confident, with a positive attitude, are fair, open and honest, and can adapt their style and approach to changing needs and different stakeholders. The nature of a leader incorporates appreciation, compassion, and impartiality to all those around them.
What soft skills should leaders have?
A lot of organisations place emphasis on technical and educational skills. Whilst these are important, there is more to running and leading a successful team and vision. Leaders should be strong and confident in their soft skills and focus on developing those.
The nature of a leader includes soft skills such as:
- Emotional Intelligence - Self-awareness of their own emotional state and the emotional states of those they are leading is inherent in the nature of a leader. Relationships and trust are built and the knowledge learned about their teams guide their interactions and the way they engage them and motivate them.
- Communication - Open and effective communication amongst all stakeholders. Not only does this mean that everyone is on the same page and aligning themselves to a transparent vision, it means that the leader is able to exercise their influence in a more professional and clear manner. Note that this isn’t just verbal communication; it encompasses nonverbal communication cues and tendencies of body language and facial expression.
- Active listening - As important as it is to clearly communicate, it is equally important to listen to others so that a leader can empathise, question, and get the most out of their followers.
- Teamwork - It goes without saying that a leader should be about their team and the people around them. Organising and managing a team whilst bringing out everyone’s unique skill sets is not easy, and it takes a lot of hard work and effort to maximise efficiency and effectiveness.
- Establishing and sustaining trust - This is critical in the nature of a leader because to be an effective leader, you have to motivate and lead your followers to shared success. To motivate and lead your followers, they need to trust you so that they continue to cooperate and work towards your vision.
- Decision-making and problem-solving skills - Asking the right questions, finding solutions to new challenges, making the most of new opportunities, and being the person calling the shots isn’t easy, but a leader does it as part of their day-to-day role.
- Interpersonal skills - Not only does this incorporate motivating and inspiring positivity, connecting on an individual and personal level, and building strong connections, it also means having difficult conversations, dealing with complaints, and managing bad behaviour or resistance.
- Change management - Since people will look to leaders in times of turbulence, change or uncertainty, this is a critical skill. It incorporates managing people’s fears and thoughts along with a change of strategic direction and communicating the entire way through.
Assessing and continually developing soft skills are important factors of strong leadership and a key element in the nature of a leader. Through continued training and increased leader effectiveness and strengths, it can lead to increased productivity, a stronger culture, greater trust and support for the leader, team and organisation, and increased transparency and agility of the team.
What are the typical qualities inherent in strong leaders?
What makes strong leaders stand out from the rest is their passion, ability to hone in on what is important, their judgement, and their ability to have people follow them and what they communicate and try to achieve. Strong leaders inspire commitment, lead people to achieve common goals, are strategic planners, effectively manage change, develop their employees, and are self-aware. They are not afraid to get amongst the work, rather than just delegate the work.
The nature of a leader is to be flexible and responsive with people, processes, and changing situations. By being more agile, they are able to adapt as needed and have a better chance of success. They also need to be able to build morale and empower those around them, maintain their values, be diligent and consistently hard-working. Importantly, they should be open-minded and inclusive of all those around them.
If you would like to learn more about what the nature of a leader is, or how you can recruit and train the best leaders for your organisation, contact us today.