Leadership comes in many different forms; some people are born with a natural ability to motivate a team and drive them through change, whereas others have identified a certain trait or quality that’s ignited their ambition to develop their leadership skills. No matter how you’ve come to realise your leadership ability, there are certain values you can actively improve through professional development.
Leadership is crucial in any business. Understanding your own core leadership values will help you strengthen your ability to lead and transform you into a great leader who can build rapport with their team.
If you’re looking for ways to identify and improve your core leadership values, this blog post is a valuable resource to help you become an effective leader who can navigate any challenge they face.
What makes a good leader?
A good leader can motivate others, navigate change successfully, and remain positive throughout it all. Leaders understand that each day presents its own unique set of challenges and opportunities and that a positive approach to dealing with these obstacles will determine the outcome of any situation.
The key to becoming a great leader is the ability to identify core leadership values and dedicate time and effort to working on these skills within yourself. There are many components to outstanding leadership, which we’ll discuss below.
Below are the ten main values that make a leader great.
1. Acknowledgement of your strengths and weaknesses
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is your first priority. As a leader, you must know where your greatest strengths lie and which areas of your leadership style need improvement. Identifying these aspects will help you approach challenges more effectively and improve the way you engage with your team.
Acknowledging your weaknesses is an opportunity to work on improving them; and working on them will create an environment that fosters your team’s growth, too.
Showing respect is the best way to command respect from others. Regardless of how you’re feeling, the pressures and challenges you’re facing, or the way you’re treated, to be a great leader you should always be respectful.
True leaders understand that the old notion of ‘respect is earned’ holds no ground in today’s workplace. Engaging with your team and making them feel heard, appreciated, and considered is one simple but powerful way to demonstrate your respect for them.
Empathy, compassion, and trust are the building blocks for respect. By applying these concepts when you engage with your team and the wider business, you’ll garner more respect in return from these people.
Integrity means being trusted to do the right thing, even when nobody is watching. Leaders act in the best interests of the business, their wider teams, and stakeholders constantly. To demonstrate integrity, good leaders must silence their ego, replace it with active listening, and intentionally seek out the advice and input of others.
You should always be able to trust a great leader to do the right thing. Not only that, though, a great leader isn’t afraid to admit when they’ve made a mistake; they understand that mistakes happen, even when the leader does something with the best intention. This is an excellent example to set for your team if you’re encouraging them to act with integrity, too.
4. Open communication
A good leader will create an environment where their teams feel comfortable with honest communication — good or bad. The leader will encourage their team to share their views, challenge the views of others (constructively) and welcome feedback.
A great leader will also form an integral part of this environment. Communication is key in any relationship — including relationships within a working environment. It’s important to remember that open communication is reciprocal. For it to be effective, you must practise it every day.
Leaders sometimes feel the need to take on new and existing tasks personally, without considering the benefits of delegating tasks to their teams. A great leader understands not only the benefits of delegation but also how it can shape tomorrow’s leaders.
Delegating work and giving your team more responsibility frees up valuable time for you and empowers your team to make decisions on their own. This brings a sense of contribution, belonging, and purpose across teams. They’ll become more confident and more willing to participate in (and lead) future projects.
As a leader, it’s your responsibility to identify the strengths of each team member so that you can delegate work appropriately in line with their skills and capabilities.
Trusting a team takes courage. Solid leaders understand the need for trust, both in themselves and their teams. Giving your team members the benefit of the doubt, allowing them to take control of a project or task, will build trust.
You must allow your team to perform important tasks. You must believe they’re acting with the best intentions and will deliver in scope, and on time. Your leadership will play an essential role in their output, but allowing them to take ownership of a project or task will instil confidence in them and shape the team into an engaged team that works well together.
7. Celebrating successes
A great leader appreciates successes. They understand the effort it takes to complete a project on time and within the budget. They value the hard work and sacrifices they and their teams have put into reaching that success — and always find a way to celebrate wins.
This positive ‘reward’ system boosts your team’s confidence. The recognition for a job well done is a step towards creating a confident team member who will likely ‘go the extra mile’ in the next project.
Showing appreciation and rewarding success doesn’t have to be over the top, ceremonial or expensive. Simply acknowledging a team member in front of the team or giving them credit in their next 1-2-1 with a surprise celebratory gift are good ways to acknowledge their efforts.
8. Equipping your team
Expecting brilliant things from your team without giving them the tools and resources to complete the job adequately is just setting them up to fail. You can show your team no end of respect and place total faith in them, but if you don’t pay attention to their professional development needs you’ll fail to bring out the best in them.
Whether you identify the need for a short virtual course on an individual basis or prefer the benefit of training a full team through an in house professional development course, equipping your team with the skills and knowledge to do their job to the best of their ability is the only way to guarantee success. Help them to help you.
9. Building strong relationships
Strong individual relationships provide a safe space that fosters open communication, a key leadership value we touched on earlier in this blog. Regular 1-2-1 meetings create the ideal environment for building individual relationships and encouraging your team members to voice their concerns and identify opportunities you might not be aware of.
Engaging the team is an important part of leadership. A great leader will also understand the need for unique relationships with each team member. Practise active listening and always be as supportive as you can.
The ability to show resilience will undoubtedly have a positive, lasting impact on your team. Sometimes referred to as stress management, being resilient helps leaders cope easier with the stresses and demands of their role in an appropriate way that’s beneficial for the organisation.
There are tools and techniques that will boost your resilience in the workplace. By learning these skills and applying them, you put yourself in the best position to develop a work environment that can overcome the daily challenges and setbacks common in all businesses.
Leadership is evolving
As the working world evolves, so do key leadership values. If you’re aiming for a positive, inclusive workplace that enables employees to perform their absolute best, you must appreciate the value of continuous professional development and use it to your advantage.
Becoming a great leader doesn’t happen overnight. It takes commitment to the cause and an unwavering determination to improve yourself.
We’re are committed to providing practical tools and resources through our in-house training, virtual classroom and specialised programmes to help you on your professional development journey. Our team is ready to answer your questions, help you find the perfect course, and assist you on the path to becoming an exceptional leader.
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