Strong leadership is essential for the success of any organization. Research shows that direct leaders bear the greatest influence on their organizations.
Gallup says 70% of employee engagement is due to this "Manager Effect." Other studies show that 50-70% of employee perception of their workplace climate is due to behaviors and actions of their leaders.
Effective Leadership Behaviors & Skills
From employee engagement to workplace climate, many variables hinge upon the manager. Thus, it's critical to be a strong leader. Okay, then what are the qualities and characteristics of great leaders, you ask?
Great Leaders are Visionaries with Clarity of Purpose
Every effective leader has a compelling vision that attracts others. This vision is often innovative and it should aim to propel the organization forward.
A strong leader is never okay with the status quo. He or she is always pressing forward and encouraging employees to do the same.
An effective leader also has clarity of purpose in progressing toward that vision. Distractions come and go, but the effective leader stays focused on the goal. Additionally, a great leader has to be an excellent communicator to share the vision.
Excellent Communication Skills are Necessary
An effective leader must have strong communication skills. This includes both verbal and nonverbal communication.
Research shows that communication is mostly nonverbal. Only 7% of a messages are conveyed in spoken words, 38% in vocal elements and 55% in nonverbal ways (such as gestures, posture, facial expressions, etc.). A great leader must be proficient in all forms of communication.
Having excellent communication skills also means listening well and read between the lines. An effective leader understands team members and can read cues. Good leaders also speak clearly and coherently.
Caring is a Must-Have Leadership Behavior
Employees want supervisors who have a heart and care. No one wants to work under brash, harsh leaders who denigrate them and make them feel bad. Employees respond well to managers with a strong sense of compassion.
To get the most from employees, you must have a personal connection with them. They should feel like they matter to the company and to you as a person.
Developing and Pouring into Others is an Essential Leadership Skill
One important leadership skill is the ability to pour into others and develop them into strong leaders. Great leaders see people’s strengths, often hidden, and help them develop. They offer their employees challenges and opportunities to grow and excel.
Such leaders are involved mentors and coaches who pour into their mentees. They encourage, cajole, correct and prod employees into becoming great leaders. They enjoy seeing the people they work with develop into strong leaders.
Great Leaders Share the Work
Having the ability to share the work and delegate is imperative for any great leader. You can't do all the work. Know how to divvy up the work in a productive way.
Be the opposite of a micro-manager. Allow team members to take ownership for the process and responsibility for the outcomes. Great leaders always share the work, which means investing in and empowering future leaders.
A Great Leader Passes Praise and Claims Failures
Honesty is a Powerful Leadership Behavior
Excellence Exemplifies a Great Leader
Excellence does not mean perfection, yet it denotes more than “trying your best.” Excellence means working hard to ensure that the process has as much importance, focus and attention as the outcome.
Excellence demands integrity. Effective leaders demand the best from themselves and from those around them, and they help others to produce their best. Mediocrity is simply unacceptable.
Maintaining a Positive Outlook is an Important Leadership Behavior
An important leadership skill is the ability to have a positive outlook, especially when setbacks come. Things go wrong. Ideas fail. Opportunities fall through. Being able to stay positive and bounce back is a must-have ability.
You must be able to encourage and motivate your employees to stay positive and resilient when setbacks arrive. Every great leader encourages employees to press forward and stay the course no matter what.