Updated: Aug 18
Some say, "Leaders are born, not made." However, this is not always the truth, because anyone can acquire the qualities of a great leader. A leader is the one who leads his followers on the path of success and does not override the needs of his people.
The values make a person a true leader. A leader highlights the successes of his team, but also bears the responsibility for their failures, because a great leader must bring out the best in employees with resilience and transparency.
Throughout history, there have been great leaders that many people have followed. They inspired and encouraged those around them and brought great upheaval to our world. One such great example is Sir Martin Luther King, who stood up for black people and achieved something no one could have imagined.
The importance of leaders in the workplace
Every company strives to hire exceptional leaders who take pride in their work while being highly skilled and productive. The work of an outstanding team leader is important in itself, but as part of a team, they play another important role: they serve as role models. Hiring such leaders, who set an ambitious work pace and motivate and guide others, could be one of the best investments a company can make. Leaders are responsible not only for achieving their own goals, but also for inspiring, motivating and encouraging their employees to take risks and develop skills to achieve team goals.
According to Goyeneche (2022), while more than 75% of managers believe teamwork is essential, about 40% of workers feel their company's teamwork initiatives are "not satisfactory." When a team is struggling, it's a challenge even for high-performing employees. A good team leader can prevent "trouble" from quickly turning into fatigue and burnout.
Great leaders recognize the weakest part of the network and seek to strengthen it. At its core, productive leadership means leading by example. Employees will not appreciate a person who demands that everyone show up on time if the team leader is often late. Rather than addressing everyone directly, excellent leaders often set the standard and then meet it, first for themselves.
A leader who is willing to roll up his or her sleeves and get dirty once in a while inspires followers to get involved and results in goals being achieved far beyond expectations.
Leadership in the workplace is about influencing employee behavior and aligning it with a common goal. Inspired employees are more likely to give their best, which leads to improved efficiency.
According to Syed (2021), admiration for leadership depends on the leader's ability to set standards for each individual, communicate those requirements effectively, and develop clear goals. In the eyes of employees, a successful leader maintains these goals by ensuring equality among employees, providing feedback throughout the work process before formal evaluations are conducted, and meaningfully rewarding the achievement of specific goals.
Qualities of a great leader
Trustworthiness: This is perhaps the most important quality a leader should possess. You should show up on time, keep your promises, and be honest so that your employees can rely on you. Trust comes from honesty, openness, transparency and regularity in behavior. You should address challenges openly and accept your team's opinions in order to solve them together. If you exhibit this behavior, your employees will be more inclined to trust you with their personal information.
Compassion: Bring a cheerful attitude and an open mind. Compassion means you care about your employees as a whole, not just their performance. Compassionate leaders should be willing to talk about their challenges and demand the same honesty from others. When your employees are struggling with terrible events at work or in life, you should respond empathetically and compassionately. Modeling compassion can help people cope with a variety of situations, such as stress in the family or exhaustion at work.
Safety and stability: Make sure others know they can count on you when they encounter obstacles or experience failure. Respond to people in a solution-oriented way rather than blaming them or others. This will give them the security and stability they are looking for.
Hope: Help people believe in a better future. Talk about the future as if it is excellent. Tell them that their hard work will make a difference and their efforts will not be in vain. Even if it is difficult, you can point out obstacles, but you should always convey the most important possible outcome, especially when circumstances are difficult.
Agility: According to Forbes, one of the most difficult skills for a leader is to challenge long-held beliefs and practices that have proven useful but are no longer appropriate. To succeed in today's complicated and rapidly changing workplace, leaders must constantly change, adapt, and learn. Developing a foundational equation that provides a clear picture of why they get the results they do is beneficial for agile leaders.
Boundaries: Set clear boundaries so your organization understands and follows you. By leading by example, you can influence your employees and optimize their attitude toward their work. In this way, leaders express their expectations to their followers instead of preaching with long sentences. If you want your employees to do more than is expected of them, simply show them how.
Passion: You can not fake genuine passion for a company, its products and its purpose. Workers can smell insincere encouragement a mile away. However, it is contagious when leaders are engaged and energetic.
Integrity: According to Gallup, exceptional leaders are characterized by a high level of integrity. They are not afraid to fairly acknowledge successes, admit mistakes, or prioritize standards and safety in the workplace.
Communication: Leaders should inspire, teach and discipline their team. If they are not influential speakers and do not demonstrate active listening, they cannot accomplish any of these tasks. In addition, poor interaction can lead to poor results. According to Forbes' Fries, leaders who do not possess these qualities are generally viewed as shy and taciturn.
Decision making: A competent leader has the authority to make decisions not just because of their status. Although you should rely on the data and opinions of your team members, you should not hesitate to make the final decision. If things are not going well, take responsibility, reevaluate the situation, and move on.
It is relatively easy to get a leadership position, but it is harder to earn it. Therefore, you should learn, grow and improve to become a great leader. Organizations rise and fall on their leadership because one person leads a large group of people who form the backbone of the organization. Remember that leadership is a privilege, not a right. You should earn the trust and respect of your people by treating them like professionals and helping them grow in their roles.