The top 10 traits of effective leaders – Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of the Top 10 traits of effective leaders. In Part 1, we learnt what the first 5 top traits were:

1. Character driven

2. A visionary

3. A mobiliser

4. An effective communicator

5. Highly disciplined.

Now let’s look at the remaining 5 traits – are you ready? Let’s go.

6. A life long learner

Humility is a very valuable character trait. The leader who is humble will have the attitude that they never arrive, they’ve yet to learn more and can learn from anyone in any situation. This keeps the leader open minded and growing in their leadership capacity.

  • Learn

Learning new ideas, skills, taking on new, healthy beliefs and being open to other people’s input, the leader is always willing and ready to learn.

  • Unlearn

To learn new things, some things have to be unlearned, and replaced with the right things to learn. A willingness to admit to unlearning certain beliefs is a humble trait of the leader.

  • Relearn

Perhaps, what they’ve learnt is outdated, old fashioned, and needs to be updated, reformed, renovated – whatever it takes, the leader is willing to relearn or to re train.

They know if they model these attitudes, their followers will follow their example.

7. A team player and a team builder

A leader doesn’t believe that they’re better or more superior than their staff/members just because they’re the leader. They have a servant heart – an attitude of serving their people and organisation, and doing what it takes for the good of the organisation.

  • Servant hearted

This is the ultimate attitude of the leader who will get promoted! Because they’re willing to roll up their sleeves, to serve, regardless of their title or role, in a situation that needs them to. They don’t mind getting their ‘hands dirty’ and to jump in when it’s called for and they don’t do things to get praise or recognition – they do things out of their humility.

  • Relates to and builds up people

It’s all about the person, the people. Without relating well to all personality types and backgrounds of others, the leader can’t build trust, loyalty or buy-in. People need to know their leader cares about them and can relate to them well.

  • Team building – empowering others to lead and build

Teamwork indeed makes the dream work! The leader who inspires, motivates and empowers people to give their best and even beyond their abilities, will build dream teams who will fulfil the vision and get the organisation to where it should be.

8. A problem solver

As well as a solutions ‘expert’, the leader faces problems head on and resolves issues instead of being intimidated or hindered by them. They know how to handle people in delicate situations and allocate the right resources to fix problems.

  • Resolving conflict

One major issue all organisations face is people conflict. People can disagree and fight over menial things or they can blow things out of proportion. It is a skilled leader who can identify the conflict, and resolve it with patience and clarity, while keeping their emotions well managed.

  • Calm under pressure

On any given day, depending on the complexity or size of the organisation, there are always problems to solve, deadlines to meet, pressures that press in from every side.

The leader learns to maintain their demeanor, even in very tough situations, and stay calm mentally and emotionally. Prayer does help!

  • Everything is figureoutable

Nothing is beyond repair, or unsolvable, everything is figureoutable. This mindset separates the leader from a follower!  Walls are seen as something to climb over, a locked door means there’s another way out. Hurdles are to be jumped over. It’ll all be ok.

  • Thinks on their feet

Often, big, important or urgent decisions need to be made on the spot. This requires experience, skill and out of the box thinking.  When needed, calling upon others who can fix or repair the problem. Agile thinking is best seen in these situations!

9. Flexible and adaptable

When working with many different people, a leader needs to be flexible and adaptable in their approach. Individuals should feel that their leader is accessible to them and is open to hearing their ideas and input. As a result people feel freer to express their ideas, which could ultimately contribute to improving the bottom line, for example.

  • Open minded

Closed or narrow mindedness will always shut out people from speaking up and owning their part/job.  So open mindedness, while not compromising their values or vision can foster creativity and innovation. This is also key to staying relevant in the market/to their audience.

  • Resourcefulness

Being flexible, adaptable and open minded can open up all kinds of venues and options that weren’t considered previously! That’s what resourcefulness is – seeing and stitching together a solution from untapped or seemingly irrelevant resources to win a deal for example, is a big win for the team!

  • Adapts easily to change

Change is always a constant in any area of life or business. So leaders can’t hold on too hard to what worked yesterday,  the methodology or the system their company had trusted in for years. Change, even to the vision, can happen, in order to keep advancing. Leaders adapt easily to change, assess the present and can let go of the past, no matter how good it was.

  • Invites others views, input, opinions

No one person is sufficient or has all the answers, even as a leader. They must invite and encourage views, input and opinions of their teams. It’s often a two way street – the leader leads AND cultivates leadership in others by giving them leadership and ownership via people’s contributions.

10. Committed to growth

Without a steadfast, persevering, relentless commitment to the vision and goals, their won’t be much growth. People & resources can get wasted, or diverted into dead end streets. Or cycles of disappointments can pile up, leading to a downfall in morale and results.  So unwavering commitment by the leader and the leadership is pivotal. Strong leaders are committed to growth. They stay on track, in the face of resistance, setbacks and challenges. Indeed this is the real test of genuine, effective leadership.

  • Mentors

Everyone needs a mentor. Be it through online sources or books, but the best mentor is the one in person. Someone whose been down that road before them, who has faced challenges and come through a victor.  Someone who can speak the truth to them, and look them straight in the eye to call out that change they need to make. That kind of mentor is priceless. Leaders make other leaders.

  • Education/training/upskilling of oneself and the organisation

Investing in themselves and their people, the leader prioritises education, training or upskilling.  It’s an investment of time and money, but it’s well worth it when the results show up later on. Relevant and timely training can speed up years of slow progress.

  • Committed to reaching goals, targets, desired outcomes

Staying focused and on track is always a challenge when roadblocks or setbacks occur. It is a strong leader who makes decisions not based on emotions, but rather on truth, facts and alignment to the vision. People gravitate towards this kind of leadership.

  • Enduring emotional roller coasters

There’ll always be emotional roller coasters, because we’re all human. We feel, we do, we say things we regret. And people can get hurt in the process, including the leaders themselves. It’s important to learn to take stock, take breaks, and manage our emotions and maintain a healthy work/life balance. Encore!

Let’s recap – the top 10 traits of effective leaders are:

1   Character driven

2   A visionary

3   A mobiliser

4   An effective communicator

5   Highly disciplined

6   A life long learner

7   A team player and a team builder

8   A problem solver

9   Flexible and adaptable

10 Committed to change

Well, there you have it – aren’t these traits astounding?! Yet, you can work towards any of them.  Are you an effective leader? What would you change or improve on? Remember, the world needs more leaders like YOU!!!

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