Let’s begin this article with a small task: Think back to the leaders who have crossed your path in the course of your career so far. Who comes to mind first and why? Most of the time, it is particularly good or particularly bad leaders that we remember immediately. When it comes to the question of why, both outstanding characteristics or special skills of these leaders come up.
The difference between traits and skills
Skills and traits are both important building blocks for success and achievement in life. Although “ability” and “trait” are often mentioned interchangeably or in the same breath, there is a significant difference. In short: We are born with qualities and can develop, perfect and develop them in the course of life through practice or training. But they essentially depend on our natural talent. Skills, on the other hand, are not learned until later in life.There is also a connection between traits and abilities: the extent to which someone can refine and perfect a skill depends on their innate traits.
The most important qualities of a modern leader
First, let’s take a look at the most important features. It is important to select people for management tasks who have these qualities, at best have already trained them and developed them accordingly. Coaching can help to reflect on the degree of maturity of the trait and what measures can be taken to make this trait even more effective in everyday professional and private life. Speaking of self-reflection and the ability to learn, these are among the most important qualities of all. Successful leaders know that everyone makes mistakes, including themselves. That’s why they regularly question themselves and their actions. Alone or in tandem with a coach, they check in daily, weekly or monthly routines what went well and where they did something wrong. From these findings, they derive for themselves what they need to learn in order to develop new, successful routines and to be able to discard negative behaviors.
Feature #1 appreciative
Only those who like people should lead people. If you don’t have an honest interest in them, you will hardly see employees as individuals with a wide range of skills and needs. Without acceptance and respect, a manager and his team will hardly achieve goals in the long run. Successful managers do not adorn themselves with foreign feathers, but also take a back seat and let their employees shine. Modesty and humility are leadership virtues. Good leaders know when to take a step back so that the team has the opportunity to drive thoughts or ideas forward on their own and with their own dynamics. This also includes being approachable as a leader for the team. Successful managers have recognized that even supposedly small things can negatively affect the mood and performance in the team. It is all the more meaningful to be there with an open ear before these little things turn into a negative momentum.
Trait #2: meticulous and empathetic
Employee management means due diligence. Just as quality is a high priority in all companies, it is important to treat employees with care in management work. Managers have to take special care in thinking, acting and communicating and to be mindful of the people and resources entrusted to them. This includes being able to put yourself in the employee’s shoes. Successful managers act empathetically, know which experiences and topics move employees, which motives have led to their view of the world. With strong empathy, leaders can better anticipate and prepare for the team’s reactions.
Trait #3: trustworthy and loyal
Predictability, reliability and credibility are the prerequisites for trust. Successful managers place trust in their employees by delegating important tasks, ensuring transparency and an open information policy, and involving employees in decision-making processes.
Trait #4 authentic and honest
Only those who are genuine, honest and authentic are given credibility, which in turn is the basis for trust. Why should you follow someone you don’t know where you stand? Managers should not put on a mask as soon as they enter the company but should remain tangible as a human being – with edges and imperfections that are part of them. They should admit mistakes and also get regular feedback on their behavior from their own employees.
Trait #5: systemic thinking
Managers should not get lost in the minutiae, but rather ensure that they always have an overview of the tasks, responsibilities, and projects in their team. This includes understanding all essential relationships, such as processes and stakeholders, and trying to manage their influence on their team. Leaders who take a holistic perspective analyze root causes, have goals and regulations in mind, and consider direct and indirect relationships and cross-relationships within the team and with stakeholders.
Feature #6 consistent
Managers must ensure that their team makes clear decisions and that they are implemented. In doing so, they should provide orientation through goals and predictable behavior and create the opportunity to control one’s own actions on the basis of results. As a result, employees are not surprised by sudden fluctuations. Leaders should show that they are willing to remove obstacles. And they should create the framework for their team to achieve their goals.
Feature #7 focused
In an increasingly complex world, it is difficult to pursue all goals and desires equally. Managers should therefore be able to set clear priorities for themselves and their team for their goals and mission-critical tasks, which they then pursue consistently. It’s about focusing on the strengths of employees and trying to use them accordingly. Managers should support their employees in continuously developing their strengths.
Trait #8 constructive and optimistic
Especially in defeats and mistakes, managers show strength. It is not a question of lamenting, looking for the culprits and pointing the finger at them. Rather, it is important to look optimistically into the future: How do we do it better? Solutions must be identified and strived for, and opportunities rather than threats must be emphasized on the way to the goal.
Feature #9 humorous
Who doesn’t like to surround themselves with humorous people? This also applies at work. This does not mean silliness or lack of professionalism and seriousness. But with a humorous gesture or saying, the ice can be broken, employees can be activated, and team spirit can be promoted.
Let’s pause here for a moment. Which of these qualities do you see as your strength? Which property would you like to expand? Tiba Coaching GmbH will be happy to support you in improving your leadership qualities. Feel free to contact us and arrange your personal, free consultation or discover the “New Work Leadership Excellence” training course, in which you can delve deeper into the requirements of leadership in the modern working world.