Different situations and circumstance call for certain types of leadership to get the job done. The corporate culture plays a very strong influence but as someone empowered to call the shots, a good leader must have certain qualities that can harness his strengths and overcome the weakness of his or her team within the confines of such a culture. Here are three main qualities that can make a leader succeed where others could fail.
1.) Exude confidence
Your subordinates look to you as a pillar of unwavering strength that can support them through the changing demands of a task while serving as a beacon to guide them through its successful completion. Both situations demand that you show a level of confidence that will not buckle under pressure or cause them to question your competence. It is here where leadership by example that is seen with steadfast resolve can give your staff a model of strength they can emulate. If you are seen as weak or questioning authority, the same qualities rub off to your staff to undermine their performance.
2.) Show flexibility to be autocratic or democratic
It is easy to simply administer corporate rules and policies and you don’t need a leader to do these. A leader is needed when projects require judgments to navigate through the gray areas where the black and white rules and policies often require astute interpretations. It is also easy to exercise an autocratic leadership style that simply imposes your directives without question and under fear of sanctions. But it has been shown in several studies that this can cause resentment among your staff that can wither your team both in numbers and in their own initiatives to do what is best for the team.
There is often a high turnover rate in autocratic companies where employees are hardly heard or given the opportunity to shine. It is here where a good leader can balance authority to impose and to recognize the self-motivated initiatives and professional competence of your team through collegial consensus-building leadership. Give your staff every opportunity to be heard. After all, even the best leaders do not have a monopoly of great ideas and your staff can complement what you may not know. It is said that the best leaders surround themselves with people who are better than them in some areas where they are weak. But you can’t benefit from such a synergy unless you exercise a democratic leadership style that takes the professional insights of your people before making a decision.
3.) Communicate all the time
Nothing can be as demotivating as being left in the dark in any project or task. Being always available to your people and maintaining open lines of communication have always been among the hallmarks of a successful team. Make sure your staff knows what the objectives are and what is expected of each one. There’s no harm sounding like a broken record if only to drive home the point. In addition, feedback is essential. Your staff needs to know how they are performing, where they have failed or are failing, and how to get back on track. If you have to coach them on how best to do what needs to be done, do so without hesitation. An effective leader is also a mentor and coach. And if your people see you as a being helpful in furthering their own careers, you can be assured of their loyalty.
Exuding a strong confidence, balancing between your authority and collegiality, and maintaining open communication with your staff define the basics of what an effective leader is. If you have the charismatic personality that can inspire other people, that’s icing on the cake and can facilitate executing the three qualities discussed. But even without the charisma, managers who show these three qualities can expect to be seen as a competent leader who can maximize and ride on the best of what his or her staff can deliver with the least resistance, while impressing your boss that you have what it takes to move up the corporate management ladder.