Some would say people are natural-born leaders – you either have it or you don’t. But the truth is you can learn how to become a leader, or groom yourself to become a better leader. Leadership can often seem like a daunting prospect on your career trajectory, but there are a few character traits you can start sharpening up that will help you perfect the role once you get there.
So what are three key attributes you need to be a successful leader?
Lead by example
No matter which rung on the leadership ladder you occupy, there’s no greater motivation for an employee than seeing you get your hands dirty and working alongside everyone else, proving that hard work is carried out at every level. Your staff are more likely to deliver the peak amount of quality work when you’ve gained their respect. Nothing has ever been achieved without working hard, putting in the hours and proving your commitment to the company – and what great values to instil in your team.
Know your limitations
No one person can be outstanding at every skill needed to run a successful company. If you have a clear understanding of your own limitations and surround yourself with people that are likely to fill those gaps, you are far more likely to achieve your goals. It takes a diverse team to innovate and succeed. Trust your team with your vision and learn to delegate so you can free up time to focus on higher-level tasks.
Successful leaders can see a future for their company and articulate, in crystal-clear language, a strategic plan of how to get there. Being able to succinctly describe what you need done is crucial – if you can’t relate your vision to your team, don’t expect them to join you for the ride. Having said that, great leaders also listen more than they speak, understanding the key issues that could prevent positive outcomes.
Ultimately, there are many more character traits needed to be a successful leader – ambition, intuition, courage, learning from failure, preparation, humility – but harnessing the power of the attributes above will move leadership one step closer on your career path.
For more tips on career advice visit Robert Half Recruitment.
Sophie Knox is a passionate communicator of all the good things in life – food, wine, travel, family and fashion. With more than 15 years’ experience in publishing, most recently as the founding editor of the BBC’s Good Food magazine, she now works from the comfort of her own lounge room, editing, blogging, copywriting and content planning.