Attributes: Leadership Attributes
Whether you are in governance, or a business head or a team leader, the leadership mantle never rests easy. Leaders are in a position of high authority in the setup. They are role models who set standards for the others to follow. Their action and conduct send messages about what is acceptable and what is not. It is significant thus that as a leader you lead by example. So how do you walk the talk and set the tone for your team and the country?
Listen to your people: Listening is one of the best compliments that a leader can give to his followers. As a person at the highest level of the hierarchy, you may not be aware of everything which is happening within the company. Your staff on the other hand will certainly be aware of what is going on at the grassroots level. They may be able to give you new insights, perspectives and ideas.
Work around setbacks: People expect the leader to be part of the solution. They expect you to be able to work around setbacks, manage crisis and turn setbacks into opportunities.
A leader may make mistakes also, agonise over tough decisions and miss milestones and chances sometimes. But the significant thing is to be honest about it. If you have made mistakes, admit them. Your colleagues will learn to trust and respect your honesty. After all, the ability to endure failure and still find the strength to show the way ahead is the true test of leadership.
Good leaders have the guts to stand up for what is right irrespective of what the other pressures may be. They sustain leadership values like integrity and honesty by living them through their actions each day.
Good leaders are proactive and set standards of excellence for others to follow. When you fail to setup high standards for achieving excellence, it undermines the success and credibility of the setup. Work suffers as team mates become complacent.
Actions speak louder than words, but the power of communication as a leadership tool cannot be underestimated. As a leader, what you communicate not only needs to be understood and accepted, it needs to be remembered as well. Leadership communication must engage and harness the creativity, energy and commitment of the staff.
In a world of change and uncertainty, the job of the leader is becoming increasing rough. We have become a cynical society and expect a leader to earn trust and respect the hard way before he can fix the direction and take us ahead.
Being a leader means having to live with the constant surveillance and judgment which other people pass on you. People are perpetually sizing you up to see if you measure up to their own values and standards of leadership. If they see you stealing credit, rumour-mongering or behaving in a way that does not behove a leader, they will not respect you.
If they find that you lack the conviction to carry through with your ideas, they will not support you. If you make promises you can’t fulfil, they will doubt your integrity.
People will be inspired by your leadership only if they understand your vision, believe in your abilities and trust you enough to walk the track you have indicated to them. And what better way for a leader to silence the sceptics, the non-believers and cynics than to lead by example. Above all, being spiritual and righteous makes you stand on solid foundation. -Dr V N Chhibber