The job market is flooded with thousands of highly qualified people: from engineers, financiers, marketers, and tradespeople. Nearly everyone has a special skill that they have learned, practised, and become a professional in. Yet, there is one skill that we can’t learn in school: leadership.
Leaders are difficult to find, but they’re vital to any organization. Plus, being a great leader is a crucial part of any entrepreneurs toolkit. But leadership comes from experience and practice. Understanding the key aspects of other leaders can offer us a guide on how to get started and develop our own leadership abilities.
We’ve created a guide to a few assets that every great leader should have, no matter your professional or personal position and goals.
In any relationship, trust is paramount. As a leader, trusting the people you are leading is just as important as those you lead trusting you. According to Angela Kambouris, a leadership consultant writing in Forbes, trust is the most valuable asset a leader can have.
According to Kambouris, plenty of managers and entrepreneurs are afraid of short-term failures or those they lead performing “better” than them. This fear can greatly hamper decision making and your ability to lead effectively. Instead, trusting your team will provide them with the freedom to do their best work.
Likewise, trusting your team will help make your team trust you. If team members don’t trust you as a leader, they will not perform their best and take risks. Building strong relationships with your team members, whether they are peers or employees, will go a long way.
All too often, we view failure as an end-all, something to fear and avoid at all cost. On the surface, this is a solid mindset; less failure means fewer hardships. But, it’s important to view failure as a learning opportunity and risk as a friend.
Glenn Llopis, a leadership author and consultant, highlights the importance of embracing failure and risk as a leader. In Llopis’s experience, the best, most memorable leaders are those that “make sure you learn valuable lessons.” Allowing team members or employees to take calculated risks and step out of their comfort zones helps build a stronger, more ambitious team.
Whenever a difficult situation arises, individuals look to leaders for guidance and help. As a leader, adaptability becomes a priceless asset in these moments. As executive coach Lolly Daskal writes in Inc., adaptability requires the “willingness to manage change” and be “open to new ideas”
Problems can arise at any time and anywhere, forcing us to think on our feet. We’ve seen this throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as business, governments, and other organizations have faced an onslaught of never before seen challenges. The leaders, from restaurant owners to government officials, that have succeeded have shown their ability to adapt to our new norm.
As we’ve learned already, trust is one of the cornerstones of any successful leader, yet it also requires another aspect. Relationships and trust go hand-in-hand in business, according to leadership author Peter Economy.
The ability to develop strong relationships is an asset every great leader needs. Leaders are expected to connect with each other, their team members, customers, boss, and many more on a daily basis. Great relationships build trust, and trust builds great relationships. Team members are more likely to heed advice, take risks, stay motivated, and perform their best. Great relationships also bring teams together: leaders are expected to be the glue that holds everything together and builds the best environment for everyone.
The corporate world often carries a competitive image, where everyone is working selfishly to earn a promotion, promote their business, or simply get ahead. This attitude translates to bad leadership; leaders that focus on themselves are bound to fail and hurt their teams.
As leadership consultant Peter Bregman discusses in the Harvard Business Review, a great leader puts the good of the company ahead of their own agenda. This means resisting the urge to dominate or shine at the expense of others. Respecting your team, their opinions, and sharing the limelight works hand-in-hand with building trust and relationships.
It’s difficult to “learn” these skills and even harder to apply them to our day-to-day lives. Still, UpHabit is here to make it a bit easier for the leader in everyone. With all the tools you need, it takes the work out of reaching out, following up, and building effective relationships and networks.
Whether you’re starting your own business or taking on a new leadership role at work, these assets are must-haves. Building trust and relationships, embracing failure, being adaptable, and staying generous will bring out the best in your whole team and those around you.