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These 5 characteristics define great leaders – Early Growth

Posted by Shivali Anand

July 8, 2021    |     3-minute read (565 words)

You might receive dozens of different responses if you asked 50 leaders to name their strongest trait as a manager or boss. But studies indicate that all influential leaders share certain key attributes.

A Gallup 2019 survey of 2.5 million manager-led teams in 195 countries focused on identifying the core traits that make leaders effective in the role. The company found that highly skilled managers, assessed as such with management performance metrics, were able to achieve the following:

  • Create an engaging vision for each employee.
  • Take a stand in the face of adversity.
  • Establish a culture of transparency and accountability.
  • Build relationships based on trust and open communication.
  • Make judgments based on efficiency rather than politics.
While successful leaders tend to share these characteristics, only 10% of the population naturally has these traits. The remaining 90% of people who want to be managers "must put in the substantial effort,” Gallup’s report said.


How to boost your leadership skills

It's unlikely that every boss who reads Gallup’s five findings simply exclaims, “Fantastic, because those five abilities are already second nature to me." In reality, most people can identify at least one of those five characteristics where there is room for improvement.

If you fall into the latter category, below is a roadmap of five steps that will strengthen your skills and ensure that your team sees you as an effective leader. 

  • Motivate employees.

Put a compelling goal and vision in place to keep employees motivated. It's not enough to post a slogan posing as a vision on your website; you must reflect it in your daily activities. Your employees will notice right away if you don't walk the talk. 

Further, it is a leader's responsibility to connect employees to the company's objective and ensure that everyone works toward a common purpose rather than as separate cogs in a wheel. Employees should feel they are an essential part of the business’ success.

  • Overcome resistance.

  Leaders can be assertive without being obnoxious and get beyond problems that others would find impossible to overcome. To accomplish this, they communicate in a way that allows them to overcome resistance. In difficult situations, effective leaders express how they feel and also show they understand the perspectives of others.  

  • Create a culture of accountability.

  Set priorities and goals for employees to foster engagement. Monitor progress and enable them to seek out the tools needed to achieve their goals. 

Leaders must also be accountable to co-workers. If you committed in front of an all-staff meeting that you subsequently discover you can't keep, make it plain right away that you're altering course and take responsibility for the reasons behind it.

  • Build transparency in work relationships.

Create a transparent work culture in which you are open and honest with workers and vice versa. This transparency should extend to your interactions with customers and vendors. When employees see how open you are with connections, they'll understand that trust is ingrained in your beliefs and not just a management tool. They will value your openness and know they can rely on you.

  • Make productivity-based decisions.

  Office politics is one of the most common reasons that people leave a job. Businesses that make decisions based on politics risk pushing out employees who work hard and meet their goals. Be sure to implement promotions and new opportunities based on productivity rather than playing favorites.

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