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Saturday 9 December 2023 Dublin: 11°C

Think you're a good leader? Here are 7 traits they all share

Leaders are made not born.

THERE ARE MANY types of people in this world, and if you’ve been in your career for any length of time, you’ll know there are all sorts of managers too.

Anyone can be a manager, but to be a good one, there are traits that they share, such as the seven below. If you do manage a team, or have plans to, embracing these qualities can be a way to take your career to the next level.

1. Calmness

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It’s impossible to remain calm at all times of course, especially in high-stress work situations where there may be money or other assets at stake, but a good leader is calm above all else. Remaining calm in times of crisis will inspire your team to do the same and help everyone do a better job when things get tough. As the Swedish proverb says:

Rough waters are truer tests of leadership. In calm water every ship has a good captain.

2. Fairness

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While you may have people in your team you get on with better in a personal capacity, as a manager and leader you need to be sure that your team knows there are no favourites. No matter how well you all get on, there will be times when people butt heads over the right way to do something, and as manager you need to be someone they can go to and expect a fair resolution from.

3. Maturity

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Hate to say it, but you will have to be the mature person in the team, too. It doesn’t mean you can’t be any fun (under the proper circumstances, and with enough warning) but your team needs to know that when they have a problem it will be addressed in a professional and mature manner. And after you can all go go-karting together or something.

4. Flexibility and openness

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While you as a manager may have a good idea of how things should go, it’s important to be open to your team members’ suggestions. Not only might they suggest a better way of doing something that you wouldn’t have thought of, it will encourage them to think outside the box in terms of work processes. It will also help them to develop as employees. US president John F Kennedy  once said:

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

5. A great attitude

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No one likes that co-worker who consistently brings their personal life to work, and it’s even worse if you’re their line manager. No matter what you have going on at home, it’s important to leave it at the door and, as far as possible, be in as good a mood as possible. This works in more ways than one. People will want to work with you and your team will be happier. Everyone wins.

6. Good communication skills

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According to a survey by The Harvard Business Review of 1,000 American workers, one of the top complaints that employees have about their leaders is ‘not giving clear directions’.

Not only is it important for your team’s good work to be acknowledged verbally, it’s vital that you are able communicate instructions and feedback properly as misunderstanding your words could lead to big errors down the line. And no one wants that.

7. Be part of the team

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You don’t have to go out drinking every night with your team to feel like part of the team – and it’s probably better that you don’t, let’s be honest, but it is very important to be a member of the team. That means being interested in your employees’ lives outside of work, pulling your weight on projects and remembering that while you lead the team, you’re also part of it, so make sure you do the hard graft too. Good leaders don’t rest on their laurels.

Are you a good leader or do you need to adopt some of these traits? Let us know in the comments below.

Think you have what it takes to become a good leader? NCI are running a two-year Master of Business Administration focusing on how to become a better leader using enterprise, people management, strategy and other skills. Head over to NCI now to find out more

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