We are all leaders in some way or another. I think it is important to look at how we lead and how we are led. In my personal experience there are certain characteristics that I think of when it's to being an effective leader. There must be a goal or a vision. Any of the effective leaders in history have had a dream and believed in something much bigger than themselves. In order to make good leaders they believed so much in that dream they were able to orchestrate others to act so that dream could come true. Many people want to be a part of something bigger than themselves but few have the drive and the ability to get those ideas to come to life. Of course there are other attributes for leaders to have like integrity, communication, the ability to delegate, and inspire, but to me the main one is that you have to know what it is you are going to accomplish; vision.
Integrity would be the next attribute I think of when it comes to being an effective leader. The goal of what you are trying to accomplish should be meaningful. The leader sets the tone. Someone in charge cannot expect to have staff trying their hardest when they themselves do not. The leader’s integrity will influence the staff to also act in such a manner and therefore raises the standard for others to try to compete with.
The leader must also be able to delegate. This stuck out in my mind from taking Dr. Braun’s business class at Bridgewater. He explained that if a manager was not able to delegate then the business would not run efficiently. It is important to have staff that can feel proud of their accomplishments and not feel stagnant at their jobs. When the vision is clear the boss is able to see where people’s strengths are and how they can use them for everyone’s benefit. Also there are many things that the manager simply does not have time to do! A good leader knows to trust their team and allow them to take on some of the responsibilities.
A good leader knows that communication is key. The person being led wants to know what they are suppose to do and how they are expected to do it. Without clear intentions there are many misinterpretations. If an employee goes to a boss and does not feel comfortable talking with them they will not want to work there very long and probably will be less motivated at work. Also, if a mistake is made then there is no fear in being able to talk about it. Since mistakes are unavoidable and unintentional there is no real reason to take them so seriously. By correcting the mistake and letting it go or even better laughing it off the employees will feel comfortable and will be more inclined to offer feedback and insight on certain ideas. A good leader knows that they cannot do everything alone and is open to discussion.
Another attribute is a leader’s ability to inspire others. When you look at leader’s in the past they were all able to inspire other’s to be a part of something that had not happened yet. Starting with an idea can be tough because the person starting has to believe so deeply and strongly that other people can sense that. Working for someone who is not inspired is a waste of time. Many people want to live their life with a purpose.
In conclusion, there are many different characteristics that make a good leader and some may have a varying opinion, but being a leader is a personal thing that people will respond differently to depending on who it is. The first step to being a good leader is to know where it is you want to take them.