20 Qualities of a Good Leader in Times of Change (A Checklist)
Industrial revolutions, economic crises, scientific breakthroughs—no matter what changes come along to throw the course of business off balance, people look up to a good leader not just to get them through it but to thrive.
With technology changing the world and the political landscape shifting right before our eyes, today’s businesses need good leaders to drive positive change. And because 75% of organisational change efforts fail to make an impact, businesses need these leaders more than ever.
Do you and your managers have the 20 qualities of a good leader that your company needs? See how many items you can tick off of our checklist.
- Brave. Change can be scary, particularly when a business needs to adopt new technology or is about to branch out into a new market or market segment. As a good leader, you need to have the courage to take the necessary risks and to adapt to an ever-changing market.
- Decisive. Change should be progressive by nature, and only confident, definitive action can keep it moving forward until the desired changes have been implemented. Constantly reneging on your decisions is taking two steps back for every step forward.
- Passionate. Good leaders feel very strongly about what their organisations do, what they do in it, and about helping everyone within it to do better and to feel better about what they’re doing.
- Level-headed. While you are passionate about your work, you also know how to keep emotions such as fear or frustration in check. This may not always be easy to do depending on your temperament, but must be done to keep it from seeping into the workplace.
- Process-oriented. Without undermining the importance of measuring results, focusing on how these results are achieved is something a good leader can’t afford to neglect as change is implemented throughout the organisation. Understanding this well will ensure that good results can be replicated while less satisfactory ones can be avoided.
- Forward-looking. While good leaders are aware of and anticipate developments, they are also prudent in making provisions for an uncertain business environment. They do not allow their optimism to blind them to the reality of limited resources and other occupational hurdles.
- Patient. Real change doesn’t happen overnight, but rather comes with a learning curve. A good leader understands that it takes time to take to new technology or to become accustomed to new processes.
- Vulnerable. While you might think that you need to put on a show of strength, particularly during trying times such as organisational change, showing vulnerability can encourage your team to contribute and respond.
- Resilient. When the changes within an organisation are bad (or seem that way), good leaders won’t let those changes faze them. While we’ve established that it’s okay to reveal a softer side of yourself, let your steel core find ways to keep you and everyone on your team going.
- Generous. This trait not only applies to remuneration or benefits, but also to intangibles such as praise, encouragement, and sharing the spotlight with the other members on your team. You can also be generous with your time, especially when team members need help.
Are You Able To…
- Accept the unpredictability of change. As much as we would love to be prepared for any eventuality, change is always bound to throw a monkey wrench into even the best-laid plans. Instead of sticking to iron-clad notions of how things are “supposed to work”, stay flexible.
- Keep an open mind. Even if a method or an idea goes against everything you’ve been taught, be willing to listen and to try it out. Instead of second-guessing how the new idea will fail, try to foresee how the new idea might be used and succeed to the company’s benefit.
- Earn people’s trust. From stakeholders and staff to suppliers and customers, people need to feel comfortable with sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings with you, knowing that they can count on you to act accordingly.
- Identify your own strengths and weaknesses. Be honest with yourself about what you’re good at and what you need help with. No single person in an organisation knows or can do everything, and a good leader will be able to admit this.
- Form a well-balanced team. Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses leads to knowing the kind of members you need on your team. You’ll need people who not only complement your own areas for improvement but also each other’s capabilities.
- Get feedback on the ground. No matter how large your organisation might be, you can always find ways to find out what’s really happening on the front lines—in front of clients and among co-workers. This is an effective way of determining what needs to be changed for the better.
- Empathise with your team. Put yourself in the shoes of those who are actually carrying out the transformation process, not just to identify their challenges but to understand how they feel or how they are coping with the changes. This is how a good leader can boost team morale.
- Involve your team in the decision-making process. Let your team know that they are an integral part of making change happen, as opposed to simply carrying out a transformation plan. This helps to give them a sense of ownership and accountability.
- Never stop learning. Leading through change entails constantly learning and trying out new skills, processes or technology, which in turn will require you to step out of your comfort zone. Yet, to get others on your team to do the same, you’ll have to set a good example.
- Keep your eyes on the organisation’s goals. With all the change going on, it can be easy to lose sight of transformation objectives or what you want to achieve as a company. A good leader remains focused and keeps everyone aligned with these objectives.
Leading through change is never easy, yet the necessary qualities can be developed through effective learning programmes. By analysing how change personally affects everyone in an organisation, everyone from key management down to the last employee will be able to build the strength of character they need to see change through. Take that first step toward preparing for organisational change: talk to us at Kaleidoskope, today.
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