There’s no mistaking the simple fact that leadership styles differ enormously from person to person. There are, however, a number of shared traits that successful, effective leaders possess. Research has proven that these traits of sense and success are deeply linked to the thriving of effective leaders.
Good leaders are immediately open to new understanding. Leaders do not necessarily understand complex concepts immediately, but they must be open to learning efficiently. Effective leaders are constantly asking themselves how to make sense of something new, and how to do it quickly.
Good leaders create safe spaces. In order to lead effectively, good leaders are warm and welcoming, rather than intimidating or aloof. By allowing room for other people to speak up and share their thoughts, perspectives, and opinions, good leaders can use their inherent executive power to create an empathetic environment that encourages colleagues to approach them with tact and professionalism, knowing that they will be heard.
Good leaders approximate, and this is because they have to. Not every project will provide every single snippet of detail that may normally be considered necessary to move forward, but leaders are able to continue to inspire their colleagues to progress without having all the information. Rather than charging blindly ahead, leaders are able to foresee what effect each step will have, whether or not they have all the information right away.
Good leaders are accountable. Everything about being a leader means being available and open to feedback, but that does not mean leaders are doormats. In fact, accountability is quite the opposite: by being accountable, effective leaders are able to implement feedback they receive to more effectively move forward individually, and to help the entire team move forward.
Good leaders are self-aware, and this means that they are also aware of others. In order to effectively build a team, they must understand the effects of their own actions – before they implement them. As such, they must complement the actions of other teammates, and they must be able to act well on the actions of others.
Good leaders act fast. In cases where there are a lot of unknowns, leaders have to move forward with limited information. This usually happens under a time crunch – after all, if there were more time to act, then leaders would be able to wait on implementing projects until they have all the information. Rather than waiting around, effective leaders move forward with whatever they have.
The workplace is a highly unpredictable space, especially when things are constantly happening on a tight deadline. Nonetheless, with good leaders in place, projects get done – even with limited resources. As a leader, the best way to start is to ask the right questions – both of yourself and of your colleagues.