10 Leadership Characteristics All Leaders Should Strive to Improve
While most people would agree that the traits are accurate, real leadership is about taking baby steps each day to improve. Leaders never stop learning, never stop growing and never stop challenging themselves to be better than they were the day before.
The simple acronym “BEST” from A Leader’s Heart by John Maxwell is an easy leadership reminder: Believe Encourage Share Trust
1: Make the Business Decision Every business leader encounters moments when a difficult decision must be made: end a relationship, change direction, let someone go. Remember, it isn’t personal; it is about the business. Leaders remember to play to strengths, fill in the gaps and cut their losses.
2: Challenge Leaders ask questions, solve problems creatively, challenge the status quo and solicit others’ opinions.
3: Celebrate Leaders praise—verbally, in writing and with money. Identify what will motivate, encourage and reward efforts by asking employees their preferences.
4: Embrace Mistakes Leaders see mistakes as learning opportunities. Grant grace and coach through it. Always accept responsibility, thank the individual for bringing it to your attention and find a solution.
5: Be Optimistic Leaders find the positive in all situations and recognize that every problem has a purpose. Leaders are enthusiastic about the company, forward-thinking and willing to take risks to accomplish great things.
6: Have Integrity Leaders must be honest with their words and motives, keep commitments by doing what they say they will, offer timely responses, and keep confidential information confidential.
7: Trust Others Leaders delegate and trust others to accomplish tasks. They do not micromanage.
8: Be a Role Model Leaders listen, help their staff solve problems, and are willing to do anything—even clean toilets. They are organized, meet deadlines, conduct annual reviews on time, and most importantly, are available.
9: Set Expectations Employees perform better when they understand what is expected of them. Leaders help team members by creating success plans, job descriptions, annual reviews and hosting weekly touch-base meetings and/or monthly one-on-ones with each member of the team.
10: Hold Others Accountable Follow up to ensure team members are moving in the right direction, re-direct if necessary, and address situations early on to prevent small issues from becoming bigger issues.