There are a various leadership styles but all leaders should work on developing these three key traits to be better leaders.
The three key traits that I believe are important in being a great leader are being authentic, honest, and supportive. Each leader has a great responsibility in leading a team, and can oftentimes, lead a person to not embody these key traits due to fear and self preservation. To reduce leading by fear and instead leading by love, these key traits can help you as a leader grow and it will help your team grow as well.
- Being Authentic: What does it mean to be authentic? It means being yourself, just the way you are. There’s no need to hide who you are because you are now in a leadership role. When you got the job, someone saw something in you that led them believe you would be great in the job. Now it is your turn to put your own flare on the role. So be your funky self. (as in cool not stinky – please note this is my nerdy attempt to a joke, lol. Yes, I laughed at my own joke. I got jokes on jokes, lol) It is more important to be yourself than anything else.
- Being Honest: What does it mean to be honest? Do you remember a leader that wasn’t honest? I can think of a few. And it would get under my skin like nothing else. In my head I remember thinking, why can you just not tell us the truth? It can be as simple as, “Look team, this is all I know right now, as soon as I know more I will let you all know.” or “I really don’t know the answer to that, but I will take it back to XYZ and see what the reason are behind that…” There is absolutely no reason to not be as transparent as you can be. This does not mean gossiping, this means giving your staff the full story. Allowing them to not only understand the reasoning behind decisions but also believing that they can think critically and make their own decisions based on the information.
- Being Supportive: This is the most important trait that any leader can have, if there’s one reason great employees leave a company it is because they do not feel supported. The worst thing a leader can do is not support their staff and their goals. I remember clearly when my old supervisor asked me if I was going to quit my PhD program because I was pregnant or the the time she told me she would never complete a PhD program because she did not think it was a great idea. Needless to say that I am no longer working for her or that company. Take the time to get to know your staff, their needs in their roles and their personal development goals. This can be done through weekly team meetings that have no agendas and are a simply a check in of how things are going (work processes) and what their up to in their professional development. This does not have to be a long drawn out or formal processes, it can be 10 minutes to 30 minutes. This will establish a connection with your team and show them that you care about them and their needs. After all as a leader, you have a job and that is to lead and nurture your employees development.
What key traits do you think a leader should have? Are you currently embodying these three skills? What areas are hard or easy for you?
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Watch my video below to hear more about the three skills and my own leadership style.