What makes a good leader, exactly? Some answers may vary, but one remains constant: a good leader has the ability to lead others, literally. Simply having more power or responsibility does not equate with good leadership skills. Leadership comes from having the ability to motivate others to follow your lead.
Many excellent leaders share a few common traits: empathy, humility, and self-awareness. Let’s break these personality traits down.
Empathy in a Leadership Position
Empathy goes a long way in the workplace and the business world. A leader with a strong sense of empathy is not “soft”, but rather is able to run their business more efficiently because they know their employees better.
Having empathy also does not equal being overrun by emotions. An empathetic approach to an employee who is struggling, for example, may involve asking questions to find out why they are struggling, rather than simply telling them they are not doing a good job. Even a simple, small tweak in approach can earn a leader instant respect. After all, empathy comes from a place of respect.
Leaders with Humility
Leading with humility doesn’t always come naturally, just as the same can be said for having empathy. Humility does not mean always taking blame from problems, either, but rather it means having the wherewithal to be able to logically assess a situation and any responsibility.
Admitting when someone is wrong can be difficult, even with a healthy dose of humility. For a leader, admitting fault can be seen as a sign of weakness, but it’s really an indicator of humility. Rather than looking for a place to put the blame, accepting responsibility for trouble will help a leader find a proper solution in a more timely manner.
Self-Awareness for Leadership Success
Just as with empathy and humility, having a strong sense of self-awareness is also a key ingredient for effective leadership. A person in a leadership position who is self-aware knows when to admit wrongdoing or fault and knows when to ask for help.
Self-awareness helps individuals set their egos aside in favor of looking at a problem without emotion and just logic instead. In the workplace and the business world, it can be hard to find leaders with a well-honed sense of self. This is something leaders should continually be working to improve, as it only serves to earn more respect and loyalty.
Using These Skills to Motivate
With these three skills that can always be improved, leaders may find it easier to motivate others to follow them. Why? Because they have a stronger sense of exactly what makes their audience tick, what grabs their attention and makes them sit up and listen.
By harnessing humility, empathy, and self-awareness, an effective leader can rally his or her troops with an authentic connection that comes from making a real, concerted effort. In addition, employees or peers who are motivated purely out of personal buy-in or connection are even more loyal than those who are simply bribed or berated by their superiors.
Taking these personality traits to heart will help improve morale, loyalty, and trust within any environment. These are not easy skills to cultivate, but the benefits will be worth the hard work in the end.