I was recently asked, "What five most important traits must a leader have to be effective?" I could reply fairly quickly, but I did take a moment to remember that when I asked a similar question in a LinkedIn group discussion, group members offered up nearly 100 different adjectives to describe an effective leader.
But, for me, I contend the five most important traits are:
- Good communicator. That means effectively communicating timely and consistent messages during good and bad times. And, knowing how and when to be a good listener. Communicating is critical. Employees must hear from their leaders. And, hearing from their leaders in person versus e-mail and written memos is even more effective.
- Being a servant leader. Put your employees and your company first. A top manager who makes decisions that are self-serving will lack followers and will bring the company down.
- Adaptable. Today, more than ever, a leader needs to adapt. That means adapting to competitive and industry situations. It also means being willing to change your decisions if new information or circumstances warrant the change.
- Decisive. Leaders who aren’t decisive and who can’t make a decision will spin their organization into a frozen state where employees are unmotivated, wasting time, and discouraged.
- Motivating. Smart, decisive, engaging, tough yet fair, personable and encouraging leaders are motivating. These leaders motivate employees to deliver their best for their leaders and for their company.