How would you describe a strong leader? In one study, leadership qualities such as assertiveness, adaptability, intelligence and conscientiousness were cited as the most important.
“Research clearly shows that transformational leaders – leaders who are positive, inspiring, and who empower and develop followers – are better leaders,” explains psychologist and leadership expert Ronald E. Riggio. “They are more valued by followers and have higher performing teams.”
So what can you do embrace these valued leadership qualities and become a stronger and more effective leader? Transformational leaders are usually described as enthusiastic, passionate, genuine and energetic. These leaders are not just concerned about helping the group achieve its goals; they also care about helping each member of the group reach his or her full potential.
Consider some of the following tips for how to become a better leader and think about ways that you can implement these strategies in your daily life.
Start By Understanding Your Leadership Style
Understanding your current leadership style is essential. What are your strengths? Which areas need some improvement? One way to start assessing your skills is to take this leadership style quiz to get a general idea of how you lead.
Once you have completed the quiz, read about the major characteristics of your dominant style. Are these qualities helping or hindering your leadership? Once you’ve determine which areas need some work, you can begin looking for ways to improve your leadership abilities.
One way to foster creativity is to offer challenges to group members, making sure that the goals are within the grasp of their abilities. The purpose of this type of exercise is to get people to stretch their limits, but to not become discouraged by barriers to success.
Serve As a Role Model
If you want to become a better leader, work on modeling the qualities that you would like to see in your team members.
You can develop this leadership quality by thinking of different ways that you can express your zeal. Let people know that you care about their progress. When one person shares something with the rest of the group, be sure to tell them how much you appreciate such contributions.
Listen and Communicate Effectively
By keeping the lines of communication open, these leaders can ensure that group members feel able to make contributions and receive recognition for their achievements.
Have a Positive Attitude
Even when things look bleak and your followers start to feel disheartened, try to stay positive. This does not mean viewing things through rose-colored glasses. It simply means maintaining a sense of optimism and hope in the face of challenges.
Encourage People to Make Contributions
Research has shown that using a democratic leadership style leads to greater commitment, more creative problem-solving and improved productivity.
Motivate Your Followers
Some ideas for leadership inspiration include being genuinely passionate about ideas or goals, helping followers feel included in the process and offering recognition, praise and rewards for people’s accomplishments.
Offer Rewards and Recognition
Susan M. Heathfield, About.com’s Guide to Human Resources, offers some great tips on how leaders can express recognition and reward team members. Some of these strategies include listening without distraction, putting your praise in writing and publicly thanking people for their efforts.
Keep Trying New Things
Who says leadership is a one-way relationship? As you work toward developing some of these leadership qualities, don’t forget to look to your followers for feedback an inspiration. Pay attention to the things that have been effective in the past and always be on the lookout for new ways to inspire, motivate and reward group members.