By Alfredo Atanacio, Co-founder of UassistME.CO / Inc. 30 Under 30 2012 / AGLN Fellow.
Aside from guiding, inspiring and directing others, influential leaders are also passionate, committed, optimistic and confident. They also develop the talents and strengths of their team and motivate their people to achieve their common goals.
With that said, here are the six skills that I believe an effective leader must have.
1. Knows How To Share Common Outlooks
For me, having a precise idea of what we want to achieve together as employer and employee, understanding the ways to reach our goals and reaching a common ground on what success means for both the company and for them as part of this company are the traits of a good leader.
As a leader, I make sure that I express my vision clearly and passionately so that my team members can understand how their efforts will help us achieve our goals. For example, all of us at Uassist.ME share the common goal of driving economic growth and providing quality employment opportunities for our people in El Salvador, and that is something that motivates us to excel at our work each and every day. I believe influential leaders can inspire their team members when they point and communicate common outlooks clearly when they work courageously, persistently and enthusiastically toward them.
MORE FOR YOU
2. Leads By Example
As a leader, you can earn the respect of your team and boost your credibility by setting a good example. I try to do this by behaving how I would like others to behave when tackling the opportunities and challenges that each day presents.
So, you should also set high standards for yourself if you expect a lot from your team. Simply put, you need to align your actions and words so that you can influence and inspire your team members to follow you.
3. Shows Integrity
In general, a leader’s values guide them on how they make their decisions and deal with other people, and they ultimately reflect on their behavior. In fact, team members respect this type of leader because they are ethical, consistent and genuine.
Moreover, an effective leader is also clear about what they believe to be right and wrong. In addition, they also know how to keep their word, show high levels of selflessness and empathy, are straightforward and honest and have a strong sense of character.
Showing these in your everyday actions will make your team loyal, respectful and confident in you.
4. Knows How To Communicate
Some of the essential traits of an effective leader are how concise, tactful and clear they are when communicating. They also understand that communicating goes beyond attentive listening and providing answers to complex situations.
As a result, effective leaders also know how to communicate an idea, ask insightful questions, be clear with the information they share, ask for ideas from their team members and communicate goals and standards effectively.
Of course, conflicts are inevitable in the workplace. Therefore, leaders should know how to deal with even the most minor disputes so that they won’t escalate.
After all, leaders know that all conflicts can affect the productivity and morale of their members. As such, they should be able to find a solution that makes both parties feel that they were heard and respected.
5. Can Make Difficult Decisions
Knowing how to make quick and difficult decisions, even with minimal enough information, is vital for leaders if they want to be effective.
In fact, I apply this by starting to figure out what the real problem is and what we’re trying to achieve. In addition, I also list down the possible consequences of my decisions and think of other possible options.
Regardless of the result of their decision, an effective leader knows how to take accountability for their choices. By doing so, you don’t just earn the respect of your members, but you also learn from your mistakes and how to make tough decisions.
6. Empowers Others
Lastly, effective leaders understand that empowering others is vital for their employees to excel in their positions and to influence the rest of the team.
This can be done by trusting your team that they will work hard and accomplish the goals that you set them out to do. You can also encourage them to think outside the box, take action and ease their fear of failure. This will make them more confident in taking charge.
I believe that there is a difference between simply managing people and being an effective leader to motivate people. Good leadership is not all about delegating tasks. You also need to show, inspire and make them feel that you’re there for them and to provide them with what they need to be able to execute ideas on their own.
These are some of the traits and skills that I believe make an effective leader. However, it’s up to you to find out your strengths and weaknesses so that you can determine which traits work best for you.
Keep in mind that being an effective leader is not an easy task. It means sacrifice, selflessness and being optimistic even when things don’t go your way, but it will all be worth it when you start gaining the love and trust of your team members and when you reach your goals together.