Every leader is unique but certain behaviours tie them together. Just like how all successful sportspeople, regardless of what sport they play, wake up early, follow a strict diet and practice regularly, business leaders have some common traits too.
If you incorporate these habits, will you automatically become a good leader? Well, we can’t say that for sure. But what we do know is that if you imbibe a majority of these eight leadership behaviours, then you are way ahead of the competition!
Read on to know more about what criteria makes an average leader a good one. We are on a quest to discover what leadership behaviours you can incorporate to become the best version of yourself.
#1 They share their vision and mission
You might be aware that the best leaders provide direction and guide their teams towards organisational goals. It is possible to achieve this only if leaders share their vision and approach with the team.
Unless this is done with clarity, nobody will know how to go about achieving the same. People won’t know how to nurture their strengths and talents – they won’t have a sense of belonging to the company. They won’t know how their role contributes to the bigger picture.
“As a team leader, I always ensure that I have a clear picture of where we need to go. I never start meetings unless I have a clear agenda at hand. If I stutter for even one second, my team will lose trust in me and realise that I am just as lost as they are. By preparing ahead, I can always articulate my vision and passionately explain concepts to my team. It creates enthusiasm in others and inspires them to work too,” said the team lead of a reputed IT company in Bengaluru.
#2 They lead by example
An excellent leader leads by example and gains the respect of their team through their actions. Only by setting high standards for yourself and meeting them can you expect your team to follow you and work to high standards. It is also vital to exhibit results and show your team that by following your example, they too can achieve results.
Another way to approach this behaviour is through the lens of integrity. Your values must guide your decisions and only if you have strong morals and convictions in place can you attain this. Your employees need to view you as a disciplined and genuine leader who is consistent and honest. Only then will they display confidence and show their loyalty to you.
#3 They empower themselves and the people around them
People wish to perform meaningful work and not mindlessly carry out a given set of tasks. Good leaders understand the need to communicate their goals and deadlines to their team. It is then the art of empowering the team to determine how they get the work done.
They value the power of saying, “I want these reports to be submitted to the client by 10 am tomorrow. The client is furious and might cancel the project if we fail to deliver this by the given time. If you need any additional resources or help from me, don’t hesitate to ask.” The value behind this statement is how a clear deadline is set with the consequences of not completing it. The team will gain a sense of purpose and will work to ensure that they do not lose the client. The offer of help from the leader will also fuel them to meet the deadline.
Empowerment is also the process of communicating what work needs to get done – not dictating how it needs to be done. You are challenging your employees to arrive at the results by thinking of the best direction they can take. Hard work or smart work – they need to make their choices and you should encourage them to show their creativity and innovation.
#4 They are adaptable and handle change well
Leaders know that change is the only constant. They understand that to stay ahead of trends and gain an edge over their competitors, they must keep evolving. They need to stay flexible and welcome change – they must even predict when change is required and make the change ahead of time.
After its logo change, Facebook mentioned during an interview that they have evolved so much over the years. It is not sufficient to retain the same logo to describe how much they have grown and how much more they are going to achieve in the years to come. They predicted their growth curve and changed their logo years ahead.
Even if your business doesn’t predict change ahead of time, it is a good idea to stay on your toes and keep adapting to the times. The best leaders always welcome such modifications as long as they can be maintained for the long term.
#5 They possess a coaching mindset
Good leaders have a coaching mindset where they aim to elevate their team members. They identify potential, ask the right questions and practice active listening. Coaching allows leaders to guide their team members towards improvements in a way that resonates with them. Having these conversations also helps the leader identify everybody’s skillsets, stretch their abilities and build trust.
“My team leader coached me from Day 1 at my first company. The learnings I got from him are still valuable no matter how many companies I change. He taught me that at any place, I must either learn or earn. If I am learning something new, I need not worry about earning less as I am gaining some knowledge. And if I am earning well at a company, it is okay if I am only using the skills I already know. I always apply this mindset every time I receive a new opportunity. If there is no learning or earning, I don’t take up the offer,” said an employee at a banking firm in Chennai.
#6 They understand and value the power of communication
Any leader would tell you to work on your communication if you are not able to connect with your team. Most people underestimate the power of clear and concise communication. The value of tactfulness and the ability to listen to the other person without judgement.
Good leaders are able to articulate their thoughts into actionable points that their team can understand. They change their communication style to suit the environment, situation, or person.
Imagine the results you could generate by being transparent, sharing valuable information and welcoming new ideas from your team. You can avoid any miscommunication by being clear about what you want.
#7 They motivate their team and inspire people
Leaders often recognise the achievements of their team (however small) and value their employees. They keep their team motivated by appreciating small victories and showing past performance as an example to yield good results. It boosts their morale and keeps them enthusiastic to perform well.
At the end of the day, it is a matter of passion and inspiration. The best leaders are always people-centric and invest time in understanding their employees. How can they leverage their strengths to arrive at outcomes? What are their needs and priorities? How can they feel valued and accepted for their work?
This will make the team feel good about themselves and will make all the difference in the long run. “I was going through a difficult phase in my life and wanted to quit my job. It was when I approached my manager that he reminded me of my accomplishments and how much the team needed me. He made adjustments to my workload, and it made me realise how valued I am in my company and how they always have my back during tough times,” said a graphic designer at a reputed digital marketing agency in Chennai.
#8 They accept their mistakes and take constructive criticism
Leaders must take ownership for their mistakes and not let their ego dictate their actions. Admitting the mistake helps in quickly resolving the issue and finding solutions. Many leaders think that by admitting their mistake they will lose face, but the opposite is true. Their team will appreciate them for their honesty.
Good leaders are also capable of taking constructive criticism. They don’t play the victim card or react impulsively. They also understand that by taking things too personally, they lose the ability to be objective and this in turn results in poor decisions. Leaders also take advantage of the criticism by turning it into an opportunity. It allows them to turn, pivot or reinvent themselves.
If this inspired you and made you realise you have a leader in you, now is the best time to begin coaching yourself. Anybody can be a leader, but to be a good leader, you need to practice the given behaviours and be patient.