What are the most important qualities for great leadership? I have the privilege of coaching leaders from around the world who work in a wide range of fields, and not long ago I decided to ask for their thoughts on the question. Here are the top themes that emerged across all cultures and industries:
Leading with character and high standards. Across the board, every leader I asked said that having high moral standards—a code of conduct—and leading with character were the most important qualities in leadership. Leaders who prioritize morality have higher-performing organizations with less turnover and employees who are more creative, proactive, engaged, and satisfied.
Communicating often and openly. When leaders are open and regular with their communication, they provide a sense of security. Strong communication fosters a team spirit that says “we’re all in this together, through success and failure” and builds a strong foundational connection.
Staying flexible and agile. When a leader is flexible and willing to consider other perspectives and opinions, they show the kind of mental agility that creates a culture of learning and growth. Knowing that the leader doesn’t have to always be right and is willing to listen and learn, people at every level are encouraged to keep learning new things themselves and voicing their thoughts. And that sense of flexibility keeps the organization from becoming stagnant. The most successful companies celebrate agility and diversity, because they’re the source of the best ideas and innovation.
Developing and investing in others. When you invest in others you are empowering them to be more motivated, more productive, and more effective. When a leader develops and invests in their people, the people in turn will repay that confidence with a stronger sense of commitment and accountability.
Creating a sense of belonging. When a leader can make each employee feel they are part of the same team and understand that everyone is working toward a common goal, the result is a sense of community and shared respect where people thrive on doing great things together. When people feel they matter and belong, they are motivated to express their gratitude and loyalty by going the extra mile.
Provide safety across the board. Making sure people feel safe in their job has all kinds of positive returns. Employees are not afraid to speak about mistakes, not afraid to take risks, not fearful of messing up. Risk-taking is encouraged and failure is treated as a step on the way to success.
Ask yourself which of these qualities you already have and which you need to cultivate or strengthen. When you exercise the qualities of great leadership every day, those around you gain confidence from your example. If you’re in control, they’re in control.
Lead from within: The future of your leadership lies in knowing which qualities give you the biggest return on your investment.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
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Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.