The Stuff Confident Leaders Are Made Of
Sugar and spice and everything nice?
No, this is not the literal stuff confident leaders are made of, but if we sum it up, then this age-old phrase may actually be quite close to the truth. Leaders are born differently from each other; they experience different things, go to different schools, have different sets of parents, and may have different sets of values. However, there are some things they do have in common.
For me to categorize an effective leader’s characteristics may be a bit ambitious but I will try nonetheless.
In the sugar category, I would probably include personality traits that make a leader innately easy to believe, easy to follow, and easy to support. Charisma is one of these traits. People who have charisma are generally easy to talk to. When you have charisma, people gravitate to you and actually listen to what you have to say. There is a general agreement that what you are saying makes sense and can make a positive impact in the team’s work.
Another trait in this category would be high energy. When you can model the way you want your followers to behave, when you are able to become an active part of the team and not just someone who tells people what to do, your team learns to work with you, they get to know you personally, and ultimately, they learn to trust you.
Finally, I would say, you need a sense of humor. When the going gets tough, having a leader who has a sense of humor and is easy to laugh can make or break a team. Seriousness all the time is overrated; there should be a balance between serious and the need to make the mood light. People are generally better at thinking when they are less stressed.
This category is where the hard stuff should be; this is where the experience comes in. An effective leader also needs to have the following: strong ethics, experience in setting directions, and setting high expectations.
Leaders also need to set limits and boundaries along with ambitious goals; after all, it cannot be all play and laughter when working. Discipline is sometimes underrated by an inexperienced team and an effective leader helps to fix that by setting the standards for his or her followers.
This category is broader than the other two and I would like to put just one thing here which I think can cover the most ground: a positive attitude.
A positive attitude not only allows the leader to be confident in himself or herself, it also allows the rest of the team to become engaged and inspired by their leader. Having the whole team behind you will definitely be your catalyst to more and better successes in your endeavors.
To listen to a related pocast with Cathie Black, Warning: Your Employees Demand Your Resignation! — click here
To check out Ms. Black’s NY Times bestselling book Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work and in Life, click here —
As a self-professed “manager from hell,” Steve Caldwell learned through the hard knocks of making mistakes while building a career. Today he serves as a leadership coach, mentor and role model guiding high achieving managers to become the strong leaders their companies, employees and the world needs. He is also author of the book Manager Mojo – Be the Leader that Others Want to Follow (available on Amazon).
“In all arenas, we suffer from a lack of leadership talent,” Steve observes. “Every day employees are promoted into management with no training or support to guide their development into leadership positions. You don’t have to be born to lead. You can learn to lead.” He can be reached by email at Steve@ManagerMojo.com or by phone at (415) 670*9543.