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6 Qualities That Will Improve Your Leadership

And I suspect some of these will surprise you...

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I was reading a blog this morning on which qualities are the ones that make a great leader. Now while I thought this article was very good and had many of the good leadership qualities that you would expect. These qualities included things such as Authenticity, Accountability, Nurturing, Humbleness, Motivational, Inspirational, etc., but there were some important qualities that I felt were missing, qualities. which are overlooked or undervalued.

Here are six additional qualities that I believe have helped take my leadership to that next level and I believe that if you can master them, then they will help improve your leadership.

Optimism

Having the ability to see challenges as opportunities, being able to create a positive atmosphere, having confidence in the ability of yourself and your team are great morale boosters. If you don’t believe in either yourself or your team, it’s hard to hide this attitude, and it can then become a self-fulling prophecy. 

People tend to meet our expectations of them, so why not have positive expectations, be optimistic about the outcome and let them know, Let this become a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Pragmatism

It’s great to set big bold goals and to have grand visions, but you have to have a realistic plan to achieve it. My favourite bug bold goal was set by Kennedy about putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Yes, it was big and bold, but it was also pragmatic because it gave them the time to achieve it.

Otherwise, you are just setting yourself, and your team, up for failure.  Pragmatism allows you to evaluate approaches and reject those that won’t work, or are too ambitious, and to be realistic. It will help you break down big bold goals into small achievable goals that help build confidence and momentum.

Openness

Some of the worst leaders I have worked with have been closed.

Closed to other cultures, closed to new ideas, closed to any ideas that are not their own or even just closed to possibility. A closed attitude can be limiting, not only to the results that can be achieved but also to the opportunities that become available.  

Being open doesn’t mean you have to accept everything, it just means you’re prepared to listen, learn and are open to trying new things. You still have the opportunity to reject those things that you don’t think will work, but you’re doing that from an informed perspective rather than from preconceived prejudices.

Flexibility

The road to successes full of twists and turns, ups and downs, and not every path you take will be the right one. I am a strong believer that you need to be firm about the goals you set, but flexible in your approach to achieving them. Knowing when to change tack is a great skill to have because persisting with an approach that doesn’t work just becomes frustrating and demoralizing to your team. Remember one of the definitions of madness is to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. So if your approach isn’t giving you the results you want then be flexible and change your approach.

Sense of humor

One quality which teams I led were appreciative of, and which surprised me, is a good sense of humor. Humour is a great stress reliever, and when used well it can really help to defuse difficult situations, especially self-deprecating humor where I am laughing at myself. Good humor can also help to bring a sense of fun to the workplace, and it helps put people at ease.

Fairness

I can’t believe that I am writing this, it should be obvious, but I have experienced so many leaders who have disengaged, frustrated, and pissed off their teams because of a lack of fairness. This comes in many flavours, one rule for them another for you, having favourites who get preferential treatment, or even having different standards for what good looks like depending on whom you are dealing with. Your teams see this, and if you are perceived as fair it will build trust, rapport, and engagement and will get people to go the extra mile for you.

What I like best about these qualities is that you can improve each of them with just a little bit of practice. The return on that investment can have significant benefits, both in terms of results generated, your reputation as a leader, and people’s desire to both hire and work with you.

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