In a recent article by Julie Dean entitled Effective Leadership Styles she identifies four primary characteristics of a great leader:
- Consistency, and
I agree with Julia’s assessment of the importance of these character traits, however, there are a few other traits, perhaps unique to women in leadership, that are also important:
A great leader knows how to assess their team members, put themselves in the shoes of their associates and determine what might be necessary to help them be successful. Although great communication and listening skills are important when hearing a team member’s concerns and suggestions; an empathetic leader can also identify concerns when they aren’t clearly verbalized.
There are times when an associate is placed in a position on the team that seems like the next natural progression in their career path and yet isn’t a good fit for them.
There was a man in a regional manager position at a national retail chain and he was promoted to the next natural position, Director of Operations. He was proficient at the task and did a great job with the details but wasn’t comfortable speaking, training or offering creative solutions. A manager may have seen that as a bad fit and fired him, but a great leader recognized his capabilities and offered him a lateral position that was Director of Projects. In the new position his systems skills and attention to detail were of critical importance and he thrived.
It took a leader who could see through to the strengths of that associate to put them in the right position.
We talk a lot about the value and importance of mentoring on Purposeful woman and it is another necessary trait of a strong leader. A great leader not only understands the importance of mentoring others, they also set up an environment where team members mentor each other.
When we encourage team members to mentor, we are first saying that we believe they have strong skills that can be taught to help make the team better which improves morale and encourages a strong team dynamic. Additionally, those who are mentored are made to feel valued and understand that time and effort are being invested in their successful. Again, another morale builder.
There are many skills and traits that go into making a great leader. What do you believe makes for a great leader?