It’s no longer enough to simply oversee a successful company to be considered a great leader. The best leaders recognize problems before they occur and don’t wait for success to come to them. Because successful leaders inspire and motivate their employees, they have the ability to improve every aspect in a business.
While there is no magical combination of characteristics or traits that guarantee a leader will be successful, or even a good fit for a business, here are 5 key traits that effective leaders share and how they can benefit your company.
From fraud and corruption, to misappropriation of corporate funds, and insider trading, we all know the stories of the CEOs who brought down entire corporations, wiping out thousands of jobs and pension plans.
Toxic leadership is one of the biggest reasons employees leave their job, making integrity a critical part of the success and longevity of a business. Ethical leadership promotes a high-level of morality and ensures that corruption stays out of the company.
Strong Communication Skills
As a kid you probably played the Telephone game, where one of your friends came up with a phase, then whispered it into the ear of the next kid. The phase was repeated down the line until the last kid said the message out loud. And it was wrong.
What was the point of the game? Not much. But it did demonstrate how easy it is for information to become misconstrued by indirect communication.
Companies benefit from having a leader who is a strong communicator because they value open communication channels; proactively sharing company updates, news, and information with employees regardless of what stage the business is in. Strong communication skills also help leaders build trust within the company; boosting productivity, employee morale, and decreasing turnover.
Effective Listening Skills
“When people talk, listen completely.” -Ernest Hemingway
Effective communication is a two-way street and successful leaders know when to stop talking and when to start listening.
A leader with strong listening skills will take the time to seek out and listen to employee feedback, which is crucial to the health and growth of a company. If a company is experiencing high turnover, strong listening skills enable a leader to identify the problem and implement a solution before it’s too late. Listening allows a leader to proactively prevent employee complacency and will ensure individual performance doesn’t take a backslide.
In 2015, REI’s CEO Jerry Stritzke, took a risk when he decided to close every store on Black Friday and encourage consumers to Opt Outside. The effort not only inspired other retailers, nonprofits, and corporate partners to close for the day, but generated a significant ROI, increased REI membership, and raised employee retention.
Nothing great has been born out of complacency. A good leader embraces risk-taking, but not just any type of risk. Successful leaders are calculated risk-takers; before they take the leap, they have already determined the goals they want to achieve, and assessed the steps needed to get there. Because progress involves risk, a risk-taking leader benefits a company who wants to continue to grow and standout in a sea of competition.
Think of a product that people have spent hours waiting for, even camping on sidewalks, just to be the first to get their hands on it. What came to mind?
Probably the iPhone.
Steve Jobs knew how to get people excited. When he took the stage for a keynote announcement, people listened. His passion for what he did was so great that even today, blog posts titled “How to Launch a Product like Steve Jobs” are still being written.
Passion, like culture, is top-down. A disinterested leader isn’t going to keep employees motivated; people want to follow a passionate leader. Passionate leaders lead with both their head and their heart which is beneficial to a company because these leaders not only care about their work, but they care about the people they work with. Optimistic leaders are highly driven and will devote more energy to ensuring the success of the company.
If you need assistance defining, implementing, or improving the leadership for specific roles and responsibilities within your company, contact us today for a free business advisory consultation.