7 Behaviors of Highly Effective Leaders
Effective leaders come in all shapes and sizes. There are loud, bold leaders who make headlines seemingly on a daily basis and there are quiet leaders who are content to let others bask in the limelight. Despite their differences in approach, one thing many of these effective leaders have in common is a set of behaviors that help them achieve success and then sustain it no matter what path they walk. Here are 7 of those behaviors:
A good leader carefully chooses his or her words. Speak carefully, because your words carry weight. Be concise and clear, but most of all, be thoughtful. A good leader has already considered what impact his or her words will have long before speaking.
A good leader is aware how body language and facial expressions can be interpreted by others. You’re the leader and everyone takes their cues from you. Your every reaction is watched and measured. It’s a little like being a celebrity. Good leaders know they’re being watched and that every bit of their body language is being studied. They use that knowledge to create a confident, positive impression at all times.
A good leader is proactive. It’s a lot easier to get a jump on things when you plan ahead. Smart leaders anticipate problems before they happen, because they keep one eye on the future. They know what their team needs right now, but they’re also gearing up for what it will need down the line. They’re studying emerging trends in society, technology and within their industry. They have a vision of where they want to end up.
A good leader begins with the end in mind. Where do you want to be in five years? For many of us, it’s an annoying interview question. For a good leader, it’s business as usual. They begin with an end result they want to achieve and then work backwards, charting each step it will take to get there. It means setting themselves and their team up for success right from the start.
A good leader puts first things first. Don’t let the urgent distract you from the important. It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of the day-to-day running of your business. There will be challenges and a more than a few fires to put out. There always are. That’s business. A good leader doesn’t get sidetracked though. They keep their eyes on the prize.
A good leader listens before speaking. Leadership is more than just telling other people what to do. It’s about understanding other people. What motivates them? What are their hopes and their fears? What can the leader do for them? Before you can lead, you must first understand who you are leading. That’s why the ability to listen is a key ingredient. You have to give people a reason to follow you.
A good leader seeks continuous improvement. Many people believe leaders aren’t born. They’re made, and the growth never stops. There is always room for improvement. A leader pushes forward and seeks to learn new things so they can better serve their followers.
Ultimately, as a leader you’ll have to pick a leadership style that works best for you. You can’t be something you’re not. Whatever style you pick though, keep these behaviors in mind. They’ll serve you well no matter where your path takes you.