We often confuse the concepts of boss and leader but the two do not always coincide. A boss is someone who sets targets, defines strategies or establishes which tasks each person must carry out within the team. A leader, however, goes further, being a person who has the capacity to take decisions, manage, motivate and encourage his/her team to achieve a goal.
In the business world, leaders play a key role in guiding firms towards given objectives. Undoubtedly, there are certain qualities that every leader should have.
Here are the ten characteristics that define a good leader:
- Authenticity. Pretending to be what you’re not doesn’t inspire confidence in others. Don’t hide your own personality; act the way you are. This is the only way that you’ll win the respect of others.
- Tolerance. Nobody is perfect; we all make mistakes. What is important is that the leader knows how to react and is capable of resolving the problem.
- Communication. This means being clear and concise when putting across messages and explaining tasks. Yet the information flow must be two-way. A good leader always listens to the other members of the team.
- Organization. Once the goal has been defined, a plan must be prepared to achieve it, taking into account the resources required, the action to be taken, those who will implement it, etc.
- Set an example. Leaders are often considered to be an example to be followed. This means that they must behave in a responsible manner.
- Know how to motivate. It is vital that the leader knows how to motivate the other team members and transmit enthusiasm for the project. Remember that a motivated person is more productive.
- Be concerned about others. One of the key qualities of a good leader is empathy. If any team member has a personal or professional problem, a good leader will show concern and try to help him/her.
- Decision taking. What is important is not deciding what to do but rather implementing decisions. But remember to consult the other team members because this will help motivate them.
- Delegate responsibility. Not everybody knows how to delegate responsibilities and tasks. Being aware of when and how to do this guarantees that a good leader will be successful.
- Encourage potential. Not all team members have the same aptitudes and skills but a leader must be able to recognise them and, most importantly, know how to use them to the benefit of the group and the project.