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Are You a Boss or Are You a Leader?

January 22, 2019
| ByJulia Pinzler

While some people may think that “boss” and “leader” are pretty similar, they are actually quite different.

A “boss” instructs employees to do certain things as a condition of maintaining their employment. Meanwhile, a leader inspires workers to accomplish the shared goals of the company and makes them want to work there.

With 50 percent of employees quitting their jobs because of their bosses, managers must learn to be effective leaders. So what exactly makes a good leader? How can a good leader help attract, retain and engage employees?

What Are the Qualities of a Good Leader?

Here are 9 qualities that make an effective and inspiring leader.

1. A Strong Vision for the Company

Leaders have a strong vision for the company. They know what they want to accomplish and have a clear idea about how to do it. They may establish a mission statement to communicate this information with their team. They also constantly look to this statement as a guide when determining the direction of their department.

2. Decisive

Effective leaders have a good sense of themselves and the organization. They must make many decisions every day and realize that delayed judgments can push back projects and impede the effectiveness of their group.

Leaders define clear goals and commit to them. Even if the approach is not a popular one, they will confidently forge ahead during times of adversity. Team members do not have to wonder what the leader thinks because it is obvious and well communicated.

3. Sense of Responsibility

Good leaders feel responsible for their business and every individual that is part of the organization. They will internalize this responsibility and not blame others when something negative happens. They will work with their team to determine ways to solve problems. This collaboration boosts employee morale and also inspires them to embrace their own responsibility.

4. Open to New Ideas

Leaders appreciate creativity on their teams. They are not so married to a singular way of thinking that prevents them from considering new, innovative ideas.

They ask inquisitive questions that make workers think; while at the same time solving problems. They encourage their employees to come up with new ideas and create new processes and products. This constant innovation prevents a business from becoming stagnant and makes it ever evolve.

5. Able to Delegate

Leaders recognize the individual contributions that each team member makes. They do not believe that they have to handle every aspect of the business on their own. Instead, they focus their time on their core competencies.

They also focus on their employees’ strengths. They trust the expertise of their team members and effectively communicate this to them. They are able to assign job tasks based on their employees’ strengths.

6. Strong Communicator

Leaders have effective communication. They are knowledgeable about the way they communicate and how to inspire their team. They avoid accusatory language and encourage team members to communicate openly and with honesty.

Good communicators ask questions to clarify, rephrase what they hear and approach problems with compassion and authenticity.

7. Trustworthy

Strong leaders have integrity. Their employees trust them with their livelihood and professional development. They act with integrity and remain authentic.

If a leader makes a mistake, he or she will take responsibility for it. They will work hard to instill trust and even harder to maintain it.

8. Engaged 

Leaders are engaged with the company. Likewise, they inspire the remainder of the team to stay motivated, especially during times of adversity.

They know what is going on in the workplace because they are constantly present. They can identify problems and solutions faster. They are intuitive and attentive, listening to the concerns of their employees and can effectively address problems to be a supportive manager.

9. Superior Emotional Intelligence

Leaders have better-than-average emotional intelligence. They share the following characteristics:

  • Compassionate toward others
  • Have empathy toward others
  • Able to regulate themselves and their emotions
  • Aware of their own strengths and weaknesses
  • Able to motivate others

A strong leader possesses these social skills. He or she is able to understand employee concerns, effectively handle difficult situations and manage conflict in an effective manner.

Seek Help to Become a More Effective Leader

Oftentimes, effective leaders are not inherently good leaders. They may develop these attributes through professional guidance. Cultivating the qualities discussed above can help create a more engaged staff and improve employee morale.

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