Leadership characteristics are a distinctive trait that anyone who wants to lead a company must have. They are among the hard and soft skills that a good leader must have, so they play a fundamental role in the success of projects within a company.
Many times, in the workplace, we tend to confuse the role of a team leader with the role of a coordinator or personnel manager. However, they are completely different, although this does not mean that a good personnel manager, if properly trained, cannot develop leadership characteristics.
You must be wondering what characteristics a leader should have, but don’t worry: our mission today is to let you know what are the main leadership characteristics you should know, to help develop the born leader inside you.
One of the main characteristics of leadership, and the most important to achieve all projects and goals, is confidence. With full confidence in yourself, you will be able to motivate the members of the work group to achieve the stipulated objectives.
When we talk about self-confidence, we are referring to the confidence that a person has in his or her abilities and capacity to manage a work team and to be able to solve, in a practical and effective way, the different eventualities that arise on a day-to-day basis during the development of a project.
Of course, this sounds easier said than done. Although being a confident person in management and problem solving is one of the main characteristics of leadership, not all leaders have this ability developed.
The main thing is that you show confidence to your peers and team members, because your job as a team leader translates into trust and honesty. When these elements are present in a work group and everyone notices your skills and leadership characteristics, the success of a project is assured, since everyone will work as a gear to achieve the same goal.
Commitment is, without a doubt, one of the fundamental pillars of a good leader’s qualities. You have to see a leader as the captain of a soccer team, who is in charge of ordering the team when things are not going as planned by the coach. That is the task of a leader: to help his teammates not to lose sight of the goal.
Being a leader committed to the goal is what will make the difference between the success of the project or its failure. To do this, you must use your passion and enthusiasm to infect the work team and motivate them all to feel part of the project, no matter how small their contribution may be.
Continuing with the example of the captain of the soccer team, one of his main leadership characteristics is to support each of the good actions of his teammates and to advise a change of mentality or vision to achieve the ultimate goal: victory.
In the work environment of a company, regardless of the industry, the leader has the same purpose, to support and advise his co-workers.
This commitment to the success of the project is an incentive for everyone within the work group, since this feeling of commitment and motivation influences the mood of your colleagues, igniting the necessary spark within the team to continue regardless of the ups and downs along the way.
According to the Forbes portal, “a leader’s commitment to his or her organization is crucial to the success of the business and its employees (…) Leaders must be committed to the success of the team”.
3. Adapting to change
It is no secret how fast the world is moving nowadays. Due to the health crisis generated by COVID-19, new types of work have been implemented, as well as new technologies; so one of the characteristics of leadership is that adaptability to change, adjusting its pace and work plans as appropriate, that is, being resilient.
According to the RAE, being resilient is the “ability of a living being to adapt to a disturbing agent or an adverse state or situation”. This resilience is one of the qualities of leadership.
This ability to adapt to change is what allows leaders to understand the circumstances of the situation and evaluate the scenario in order to make the right decisions for the benefit of the objective and the company, which also represents one of the qualities of a good leader: decision making.
These decisions must be made without losing sight of the objective and without affecting the performance of the work group. Adaptation to change must be organic, so that none of the collaborators, and much less the project, are harmed by the decision taken.
For a leader, it is essential to be able to find a practical and quick solution to the problem that arises, for example:
The absence of a team member.
The failure of a technical component.
External factors affecting the dynamics of the target.
Another of the characteristics of leadership is organization, since it is not only enough to be able to transmit confidence and security to the members of the work group, but it is also necessary to know how to organize and, especially, to delegate.
Being organized is not something that should only be present among the characteristics of leadership, it is something that you must have in your day to day, since order and discipline can make your time more productive in your daily activities.
In this sense, one of the qualities of a leader is to have as a main objective the organization within the workspace. In this way, production and project delivery times can be significantly shortened, as well as the performance within the company.
To help you with the organization of your projects and delegate functions to your work team, we share with you this Roadmap template in PowerPoint for your projects, with the intention that you have a constant follow-up of your activities and each of its stages.
Organizing and delegating go hand in hand in this journey of the characteristics of a leader. There cannot be one without the other, that is to say, a good leader cannot delegate if he/she has not organized the project and which are the steps to follow. Otherwise, by delegating tasks to each of the team members, each stage of the project is organized and work is done steadily and without delays.
Knowing how to delegate is influenced, in turn, by self-confidence and commitment, since in order to delegate effectively and adequately, the leader must know the strengths and “weaknesses” of the members of the team he/she leads.
5. Ability to inspire others
Learning how to be a better leader is one of the essential keys to guarantee the company’s success and, although it may not seem like it, leaders are referents within a company and even more so, in a work team.
A good leader with effective and positive leadership should be a source of inspiration for his or her co-workers. in what way?
In compliance with regulations within the company.
Finding truly inspiring leadership is an invaluable element nowadays, so employees are grateful when it happens. One of the characteristics of leadership is to have attitudes such as the following:
Demonstrating love for what you do.
Work hard, being the first to arrive and the last to leave a workday.
Respect the company’s rules and regulations, both inside and outside the institution.
Having these qualities in your role as a leader will make you an example for your coworkers and will allow you to achieve, with the help of your collaborators, the success of a certain project without failures or delays.
While leadership characteristics are qualities of a leader, with them it is possible to influence the attitude and behavior of people who have an active role within the company and a specific project. This quality of being able to influence, and even transform, the vision and attitude of a person is undoubtedly a characteristic of good leadership.
These leadership characteristics also allow a leader committed to his work team to enhance the talent of those people who need a little push to achieve the objectives that are set.
Among the most important leadership characteristics, we must take into account that every leader must have certain qualities that make him/her stand out from his/her peers in the way he/she acts.
We have selected 3 important qualities that must be present in a leader and be the differentiating element.
The leader is not the only important element within a work team because, although his work is essential for the correct completion of the objectives, he is also part of a gear.
If the leader remains distant from his colleagues, with an attitude of superiority, the balance in the team will be affected and will not function correctly.
“To Caesar what is Caesar’s.” We all get satisfaction when our efforts in performing an assignment are recognized and the leader, as team captain, must recognize the successes and achievements of his teammates. This is fundamental to the characteristics of leadership.
Recognizing the effort of the project participants is to increase the confidence and rapport of the work group. When this happens, success is just around the corner.
We all appreciate honesty and even more if it comes from a person who is our reference and our leader. The job of a leader is to help his colleagues to progress by making, in an appropriate manner, comments and criticisms that are in favor of the personal growth of a member of his work team.
Honesty, humility and mainly the recognition of the achievements of your colleagues must always be present in your leadership characteristics and your attitude as a team leader.
7. Ability to solve problems
Among the qualities of a leader we cannot fail to mention his or her ability to solve problems. A person in a leadership position must be able to analyze, diagnose and solve any type of problem that arises within his or her company.
It is important for a leader to offer solutions and to keep all areas of a company operational. Likewise, it is important that he/she knows how to delegate effectively, since most of the time the work teams are in charge of implementing the leader’s ideas to solve any problem that may arise.
Forbes points out that in order to solve problems effectively, it is important that leaders have the ability to communicate in a transparent manner. In the following section we will tell you more about communication skills and explain why they are part of the characteristics of leadership.
8. Communication skills
One of the characteristic features of leadership is communication skills, as leaders must be able to communicate with a wide range of people. A leader’s ability to convey information in the appropriate way has direct effects on organizational performance.
According to Harvard Business School, when a company has communication problems, employee morale is lower, which affects performance and can even lead to financial losses. This is one of those leadership qualities that is crucial for the well-being of any organization.
On the other hand, when communication is part of the qualities of a company leader, it is possible to transmit the vision of the organization more easily, generate trust, and obtain better results from the work teams.
It must bekept in mind that the leader must have good communication to inspire people, and to eliminate any barriers that may arise between the different strategic areas of an organization.
These are some of the aspects that can be evaluated to recognize leadership traits in a person:
Active listening: one of the main characteristics of leadership is knowing how to listen. It is important that a company’s collaborators can see in their leader a person with whom they can express their ideas and opinions and receive feedback.
Transparency: transparency is essential to eliminate communication barriers. A good leader must be able to communicate the company’s objectives, the challenges it faces, and generate trust in the work teams.
Clarity: communication must also be clear, there can be no ambiguities when informing a person what is the job to be done. The clearer the communication, the less operational errors will occur within the organization.
Empathy: Finally, we must mention another of the characteristics of a leader that usually has the greatest impact on work teams: empathy. It is important for the leader to understand people’s feelings and the experiences they are going through in order to show interest and create a space for effective communication.
All these elements are an indicator that can be used to measure whether a leader has communication skills or whether he/she should develop them.
9. Emotional intelligence
If we talk about what characteristics a leader should have, we must also mention emotional intelligence. In fact, the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) points out that among all the qualities of a leader, one of the most important aspects is his ability to be aware of his emotions, to have self-control, and to know how to deal with the emotions of others.
Keep inmind that emotional intelligence is the ability to understand how emotions can direct people’s behavior, and it is important to know the ways in which this knowledge can be used to motivate others.
Although this may seem like a very simple thing to do, the truth is that it is not so simple. Statistics show that overall, only 36 percent of people have the ability to identify their emotions as they arise.
The figures are alarming, but when emotional intelligence is not among the characteristics of a leader, the concern of organizations should increase. A leader without emotional intelligence can negatively affect the performance of work teams and alter the work environment.
SHRM highlights that sometimes the negative effects can result in low levels of employee engagement and high turnover rates. Emotional intelligence is essential to regulate interactions between people, especially if you are in a leadership position.
The next time you ask yourself what characteristics a leader should have, do not forget the importance of emotional intelligence for the well-being of organizations.
10. Ability to think strategically
Finally, to end our list of leadership characteristics, it is important that we talk about strategic thinking. The ability to think strategically indicates that a person can make decisions that benefit the company, and that he or she can solve the problems that arise.
It isone of the leadership qualities that enables a person to understand why he or she does things, knows what the needs behind each task are, and understands how each decision has an effect on the overall goals of the organization.
According to the Harvard Business Review, to develop the leadership characteristics linked to strategic thinking, people need to learn to see their environment and analyze trends; not be afraid to ask difficult questions; develop a more structured way of communicating; and take enough time to think about their work.
Although the characteristic traits of leadership may vary depending on the approach, these 10 characteristics mentioned throughout the article will give you a clear idea of what it takes to be a good leader and contribute to the fulfillment of an organization’s objectives.
Being a leader is not just about getting a project done: leadership characteristics are the ones that will give you the ability to work together with your team in a cohesive way to achieve the success of a project.
The work of a leader is a work of constancy, perseverance, commitment, but mainly, of team. Remember, you are the captain of a team and all your teammates can help you achieve victory.
this has been our blog post on the characteristics of leadership! If you wanted to know more about what qualities a leader should have, we invite you to specialize with our Leadership Academy, with which you can acquire the knowledge and skills you need to carry out your work effectively