What Makes a Good Leader?

In any organization, leadership provides the scaffolding upon which everything else is built. Whether you’re negotiating a multinational merger, or trying to order pizza, strong leadership plays a key role in your ultimate success.┬áSimply put, in the absence of good leadership, organizations flounder.

Many people think that leadership is something you’re born with; you either have it, or you don’t. And while that makes for a nice narrative, nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, leadership comes more naturally to some than others, but it’s a skill. And like any skill, it can be learned. With that in mind, here are some skills that any leader would do well to focus on.

Leading by Example

Leaders influence the people around them. If you want your team to carry themselves professionally, think positively, or simply make business decisions according to a particular ethos, there’s nothing quite like leading from the front. Your team will look to you; set the example you want them to follow.

Building Your Skills

Leadership isn’t a test that you pass, or a certification you acquire; leadership is an organic, evolving process. Your leadership skills are never truly “done,” but rather a set of proficiencies that you’ll grow and adapt over time. Don’t settle for good enough; strive for greatness.

Your Decision Making Process

There is a common fallacy that decisive action is the hallmark of a good leader. And sure, confidence is inspiring, but ultimately, it’s far more important that you make good decisions, rather than fast or dramatic ones. The right decisions, made at the right time.

This doesn’t mean that you should procrastinate; far from it. Strike while the iron’s hot – not before, and not after.

Taking Responsibility

Over the course of any leadership project, there will be peaks and valleys. Your team will look to you for instructions, guidance, and reassurance, but make no mistake; the buck ultimately stops with you. Nobody likes a leader who takes all the credit, but tries to pass the blame, so embrace your responsibilities, and own your decisions.

Motivating

Business acumen is not the same thing as interpersonal communication skills, and vice versa. It’s important to recognize and incentivize the behaviors you want to see, not just in end results, but in process as well.

Relinquishing Control

This. Is. Difficult. Leaders tend not to delegate well, but that is literally the job; show some confidence in your team, and give them some autonomy in managing tasks. A leader doesn’t micromanage, they focus on the big picture.┬áLead, don’t manage, and you’ll be ahead of the curve. Watch the following video for more on becoming a good leader: