I’ve written on the blog before about the importance of possessing strong leadership qualities, and I’m back to talk about it again, because it truly is that important. When you begin the journey of building a business and stepping into your CEO shoes, you — whether knowingly or unknowingly — are agreeing to take on the role of a leader.
However, not all leaders are created equal, and the way you choose to manage and yield your power as a leader will be highly critical in whether or not you achieve success and respect as a business owner.
If you aren’t sure whether or not you’re currently operating as a strong leader, don’t worry. In today’s blog post I’ll be walking you through 10 essential leadership qualities you need to be cultivating for maximum impact. And remember, leadership skills aren’t always something we’re born with. It can take time to really understand what it means to be a good, fair leader. So as long as you’re open to embracing these qualities and finding ways to integrate them into your role as a leader, you’re on the right track!
Quality #1: Consistency
In the business world, consistency is king if you want to build momentum, gain trust, cultivate a strong sense of brand loyalty, and create a great company culture. Because employees will often model the leadership behaviours you demonstrate, this is one area where it’s extra important to lead by example and stay consistent across the board even when you don’t feel like it.
Quality #2: Humility
When we think about strong leaders, the traits that often come to mind are things like confidence, charisma, work ethic, and so on. I want to propose a less-talked about quality that many successful leaders have in common, and that is humility. Research studies have proven that humble leaders listen more effectively, inspire great teamwork, and focus everyone on a united goal. The reason humility translates so well to leadership is simple: when leaders are willing to recognise that they aren’t always the smartest person in the room, there’s more room for creativity, team collaboration, and exchanging of ideas.
Quality #3: Conviction
Leaders are responsible for a whole host of important endeavors, including but not limited to implementing change, long-term future planning and strategising, decision-making, building company culture, generating enthusiasm, and more. None of these are small tasks, and as a result it should go without saying that conviction is a must-have quality for any great leader. Having a strong belief in what you are doing, regardless of the struggles and challenges you face along the way, is instrumental in actually sparking passion and overcoming resistance so that you can see big results. This is a quality that is very difficult to fake, so if you don’t absolutely love the direction that your business is headed in, it may be time to reconsider your path. (This is something I help my clients work through in my strategy intensives.)
Quality #4: Active Listening
Feeling seen, heard, and understood is SO important when it comes to building a team that actually respects you as a leader. Your team members NEED to know that you’re taking their feelings, opinions, and feedback into account if you want morale to stay high. The best way to do this is through active listening. This means not only giving whoever is speaking your full, undivided attention, but also analysing what is being said and paying close attention to the content, intentions, emotions, and body language of the speaker.
Quality #5: Self Awareness
Self-awareness is an essential trait of a great leader. Self-aware leaders understand their own character, feelings, and decision-making processes, which allows them to respond to situations in a way that is best for the company as a whole — even if that response isn’t their immediate instinct or desired course of action. Self-aware leaders also tend to be committed to self-improvement and are willing to identify their own weaknesses and work to improve them for the greater good of their team.
Quality #6: Tenacity
Tenacity — a blend of determination, persistence, and grit – is a prerequisite of any good leader. This attribute can literally be the difference between failure and success. Leaders who possess tenacity are able to persevere when confronted with challenges, bounce back and learn from mistakes, and keep going in the face of hardships and limitations. Those who lack tenacity may find the tumultuous and unpredictable process of building a business “too hard” or mentally taxing. This is why it’s such a critical leadership quality!
Quality #7: Motivation
If you aren’t motivated to reach your company’s goals, you can’t expect your team to be! Motivation and leadership are intrinsically linked. As the leader of an organisation, it’s your job to show enthusiasm for the future of the company and get your team members equally excited about what’s to come. This is essential when it comes to building company morale.
Quality #8: Assertiveness
Being assertive is often confused with being bossy or demanding, but I want to make it clear that it couldn't be farther from the truth. It’s completely possible to be an assertive and calm, positive leader. What assertion in leadership really looks like is standing up for yourself, your team, and what you believe in. All you need to do to nail this is be clear and direct in your communication. When something is bothering you, don’t let the people-pleaser inside you win out — instead, find a way to respectfully articulate your perspective and preferred outcome.
Quality #9: Communication
Effective communication is a must in business and in life. The strongest leaders know how to communicate in a way that is easy for their team to understand. This means providing clear and detailed instructions when assigning new tasks or projects, clarifying your points after speaking them, providing opportunity for questions and conversations surrounding your decision-making or delegation, and figuring out which methods of communication work best for your given team. Communicating frequently and effectively is much better than leaving your team in the dust with no clue how to move forward. Just remember not to confuse communication for micro-management.
Quality #10: Empathy
All strong leaders are also humans at their core. A major part of being human is being empathetic to the needs and feelings of others. As a leader, extending this empathy to your team is a surefire way to instill trust and foster a positive community culture. It will mean a lot to your staff to see you get in tune with their feelings and think about how you would feel if you were in their shoes.
There you have it! These ten qualities are essential in stepping into the strongest, most effective leadership role possible. However, don’t stress yourself out if you don’t have a perfect score in every category. These behaviours can all be improved with practice, commitment, and experience. The first step is simply knowing what to focus on, and you already have that down now.
If you’re ready to really step into the shoes of a powerful leader sooner rather than later, book a strategy session with me to figure out what this will look like both energetically (within your mindset) and strategically (in the way you operate your company). Together, we can craft a winning plan that will have you feeling more clear and in control than ever before!