The Qualities of a Good Leader
A good leader listens well to others and listens openly to them. At one point or another, a leader will need good public speaking skills because he or she will need to give presentations, both formal and informal. Clear communication is essential, especially when giving directions.
Leaders need to be able to set and meet reasonable deadlines. They are also role models and need to be able to set an example of behaviour. They also need to understand that they can't do everything themselves and need to be able to delegate responsibility. It is essential that they are able to work in a group, creating a productive atmosphere where questions are asked generating prompt responses and where people can openly brainstorm. This requires the ability to guide the group in a goal and decision making setting. It also requires being able to handle the conflict that may and will arise effectively.
He or she will accept constructive suggestions and criticisms and offer some when needed. They need to help members of their team identify and solve problems and appreciation of others' contributions. They need to show understanding and encourage the exchange of ideas.
The Actions of a Good Leader
Good leaders are honest and do what they say they are going to do. This credibility and commitment result in the trust and confidence of their people. They communicate with their people and understand what their people want and what they value in order to make sure that their actions are consistent with their people's wishes. At the same time they avoid telling people what to do, rather they suggest, recommend or request.
They can admit to their mistakes and they encourage members to do more without pushing too much. They create an atmosphere of success, empowerment and a trusting and open climate. They aren't afraid to get their hands dirty so to speak and are willing to work.
Leaders are required to constantly provide feedback to their members. There are different ways to provide this feedback. For instance, a leader can respond with silence, criticism, advice or positive reinforcement, each with different results.
Silence and criticism are not recommended because they tend to decrease performance and confidence in other team members and can even create paranoia. Advice and positive reinforcement are the best feedback options because it improves confidence and strengthens relationship resulting in increased performance.
This is one of the most important things that a leader must do. They need to listen to the feedback of the team. They need to listen with more than just their ears as well. Look for nonverbal clues. Do not argue or deny with the person, simply listen to exactly what they are saying. Acknowledge ideas and paraphrase to show that you understood what they are saying.
Remember that sometimes a person is born with the ability for effective leadership, but most of us need to actively practice it to get the hang of it.