What exactly is a leader? Is he simply a good manager? It turns out that being a leader is not a function, nor an official title, but a set of behaviors and a charismatic attitude, which, in the end, make everyone want to listen and surpass themselves. A leader does not only effectively manage team members to ensure that they perform their missions effectively, he or she goes well beyond these functions. But while some are natural leaders, others need to develop their leadership in order to become more than a good leader. Although there is no single ideal leader, all good leaders have their own characteristics. So here are the 10 essential qualities to possess or develop to become a true leader.
#1 Knowing how to trust
Trust is essential to any human relationship, and relationships within the company are no exception. To know how to trust when you are a leader is to have the ability to delegate tasks to your employees, but also to take into account opinions, expertise and aspirations in meetings. By giving your employees all the necessary autonomy in the management of files and projects, you will allow them to develop fully and be more efficient. That is also what leadership is all about.
#2 Set clear objectives
In our study on employee expectations, more than 41% of respondents stressed the need for a clear sharing of vision and strategy to give meaning to everyday life. The lack of a shared vision of the future in a team, and more broadly within any organization, is indeed a trigger for employee discomfort and loss of cohesion. So be an inspiring leader by clearly sharing the company’s vision, so that everyone understands how their individual contribution makes joint success possible. In addition, adopting this behavior will encourage exchanges within the team, through regular points, formal or informal.
#3 Personalize the company’s values
Today, the younger generations are turning to companies that they consider meaningful. In our latest study on the “Ideal Job”, more than 75% of them are attentive to the social and societal commitments of the structures they join. It is therefore necessary to unite teams around strong values by sharing them, but also and above all by embodying them. Your actions must reflect the company’s values, even if you are an interim manager. You will then be more legitimate with the people around you, and they will want to follow you and get involved with you.
#4 Enable the exchange and transmission of knowledge
It is essential to create an environment that is conducive to moments of exchange and knowledge transfer, not only between members of your team but also when you integrate a new employee. Your objective is to develop your team, to increase its competence and to free up talent.
#5 Rewarding good initiatives
These are the small victories that allow your team to move forward on a daily basis, so be careful. When a member stands out, share the good news and results with the rest of the team. Put your best people first to stimulate buy-in and performance. This will show that any effort will be rewarded and boost motivation within your team. However, it should be borne in mind that recognition at work also involves acts such as increasing skills through training, for example.
#6 Encouraging change
Innovation is vital to any team and any organization. Your job is to encourage your team to come up with and test new ideas or initiatives. Rely on collective intelligence and all the energies available to advance and help your employees advance.
#7 Knowing how to take care of yourself
Mood is contagious, whether it is good or bad. A healthy lifestyle will allow you to overcome any problem in a positive way. Remember to give yourself moments of relaxation, time to practice a sporting activity for example. Your employees will be grateful to you for this.
#8 Communicate in complete transparency
Integrity is one of the keys to whether or not we trust the people around us. A good leader, more than anyone else, must communicate with transparency and sincerity in all situations. He must know how to encourage in case of success but also and above all to assume mistakes in case of failure, without distorting reality. This is at stake for its credibility and legitimacy. And if you are open and transparent, your team members will also feel more free to express themselves openly.
#9 Listening skills
Listening skills are a prerequisite for good communication. It allows you to get to know your employees and therefore to adapt your discourse for an optimal impact. “Listening is a skill that is often overlooked. But when used properly, it has the power to create a secure environment,” as Melissa Daimler points out in an article for Harvard Business Review. Employees thus feel that they have been truly heard and will not hesitate to talk more about their concerns, which will allow you to find solutions together.
#10 Have convictions
A true leader not only has convictions and beliefs, but he is not afraid to affirm them loud and clear. You must have enough confidence in your skills and qualities to take the risk of expressing your ideas whenever necessary. But having self-confidence does not mean being without humility. You must use this trust to support your ideas and projects but also those of your collaborators, and keep in mind that you can also be wrong.
Before leading a team, you probably worked under the responsibility of a manager. What did you expect from your managers? What characteristics or qualities made them good managers in your eyes? Exemplarity, integrity, character and proven skills? Know how to remember the expectations you had then, what you were particularly interested in and become the charismatic leader you would have liked to have had at that time!