Being a good leader isn’t something you can memorise, or take lessons for then consider yourself an expert, afterwards. While skills and certain principles may be taught, it’s up to you to make a conscious effort to put them into action.

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John F Kennedy once wrote that “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” As the leader of an entire nation counting on him to steer them through delicate foreign relations, economic difficulties, racial discrimination and other domestic issues, this US President knew he couldn’t afford to let his leadership skills slide.

Being a good leader isn’t something you can memorise, or take lessons for then consider yourself an expert, afterwards. While skills and certain principles may be taught, it’s up to you to make a conscious effort to put them into action.

There’s no real substitute for the experience you gain in the field as you pay close and careful attention to the impact of your actions on those you lead. This doesn’t mean, however, that the skills that a good leader ought to have can’t be learned or imparted in the form of guidance or mentorship.

 

A Guide Designed for Those Who Guide

To help you and the leaders in your organisation evolve your leadership abilities, we’ve put together this compact reference as a guide that acts in much the same way as a lighthouse for ships on a turbulent sea. It can be easy to lose sight of your role’s meaning or purpose amid the frenetic activity of your day-to-day, and the uncertainties of today’s business environment.

With entire teams of people and their respective leaders clamouring for your attention and multiple responsibilities demanding to be fulfilled, it can be helpful to take a step back and remember

  1. What it means to be a leader
  2. What are the critical traits a leader needs to have
  3. What a leader needs to do to address internal issues within the organisation
  4. How can a leader rise to the occasion to meet external challenges

This “quick refresher course”, if you will, just might help you keep your leadership goals in sight and within reach, and keep you on the path toward achieving them.

 

What It Means To Be A Leader

There are many definitions of who a leader is and what he’s meant to be doing, but they all might be distilled into this basic concept: A leader is a leader not because of the title he has, but the role he has to fulfil—and that role is to serve those he leads, and not himself. This means putting the needs of the organisation first, and making sacrifices toward this end.

Being a leader means being responsible for everyone in your charge, and constantly thinking of the greater good, which sometimes means overriding the individual. The larger the organisation or the more people you have under your care, the greater your responsibility.

This is one of, if not the guiding principle in making the tough decisions which, as a leader, are your job to make on a daily basis. When things get complicated, fast, ask yourself how a course of action in one way or the other affects everyone involved—from key management all the way down to maintenance. Everyone, not just a chosen few, must be able to benefit.

 

What Are the Critical Traits A Leader Needs to Have

It’s interesting to note how a list of characteristics that people expect their leaders to have, might often be seen on similar lists pertaining to heroes, idols, or anyone people look up to. But while we offer you a checklist of 20 Qualities of a Good Leader in Times of Change, we also point out that these qualities generally aren’t acquired overnight, nor on your own.

When we say “on your own”, we refer not to your personal initiative or drive for self-improvement, but rather to the fact that leadership doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Qualities on our checklist such as vulnerability and generosity, for instance, particularly require interaction with others to develop.

After going through this checklist and ticking off such qualities as you consider yourself to possess to an acceptable degree, it might be helpful to look back at the list later on to see whether you’ve improved. You might even make one or more of these qualities the object of a sort of “new year’s resolution” for you to work on.

 

What a leader needs to do to address internal issues  

In every organisation in every vertical across industries, teams are made up of people, and no two people are ever alike. As diversity in terms of background, skills and specialisations continues to abound in the workplace, it falls to you, as a leader, to make sure everyone is able to work together as smoothly as possible.

We offer you some advice for How to Manage A High-Performance Team Made Up of Different Personalities, reiterating the need for empathy and the ability to reach out and connect with people. While office cultures vary between organisations, the need for mutual respect, tolerance and trust between co-workers is a must at any level.

If a breach in this trust should occur or a line should be crossed, which does happen sometimes even in (or sometimes especially in) the closest-knit teams within “family atmosphere”-type cultures, it falls to you to restore harmony. You might refer to your organisational values and ask yourself, again, what the best course of action would be as regards the greater good.

 

How Can a Leader Rise to Meet External Challenges

  • Political issues
  • Economic trends
  • Technological developments
  • Natural disasters
  • Social questions

These are just some of the myriad factors affecting business growth, and as a leader, it’s your duty to see that your organisation is able to react in a timely fashion and to adapt accordingly.

Providing a prompt and effective response to challenges as they happen is the function of business agility. An organisation encumbered by a rigid hierarchy or bureaucratic procedure, for instance, would find itself quite unable to move quickly should an opportunity (or an impending disaster) present itself. Review the reasons Why A Good Leader Needs to Understand Business Agility.

It’s not enough for an organisation, however, merely to react—especially in the midst of the likes of a downward trend or negative backlash to an unforeseen event. An organisation must be able to adjust or change its team structures and business processes, for instance, and it’s up to you as a leader to effect these changes as needed.

This entails keeping an open mind and a willingness to learn, and while it’s undeniably admirable to adhere unflinchingly to a set of values and a work ethic, clinging to outdated procedures or methodologies will do your organisation no good. Ask yourself, Do You Practise Adaptive Leadership? to find out whether you’re the kind of leader your organisation needs.

 

Learn From Other Leaders

Being able to adapt, or to evolve as a leader comes with the territory of business growth. As with growth in general, not changing into something better is precursory to death—or stagnancy, at best. You owe it to the people you lead to keep on learning to become a good leader. It’s your responsibility to them as well as to yourself.

The good news is that you’re not alone—nor should you be. At the heart of your evolution as a leader is the ability to listen and empathise with the needs of those around you, within and outside of your organisation. Learning opportunities are just waiting to be found within every interaction; all you have to do is to seize them as they come.

Find guidance and mentorship specially designed for leaders and leaders-in-the-making with trainers who know what it is to be leaders, themselves. On top of decades of experience in leadership and management training, executive coaching, and business agility, our trainers have held key management positions in leading multinationals across the region and beyond.

Meet your mentors at Kaleidoskope, now.

Fill out our form to receive full details on how you and your organisation can benefit from mastering the art of High Impact Facilitation. Just a few fields and you’re on your way to becoming a highly effective trainer.

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.

Leadership & Corporate Training Insights

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.  

Are You…

 

  1. 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.
     
  2. 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.
     
  3. 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.
     
  4. 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.
     
  5. 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.
     
  6. 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.
     
  7. 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.
     
  8. 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.
     
  9. 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.
     
  10. 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…

 

  1. 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.
     
  2. 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.
     
  3. 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.
     
  4. 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.
     
  5. 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.
     
  6. 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.
     
  7. 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.
     
  8. 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.
     
  9. 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.
     
  10. 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.

Navigate Through Change

Let us help you identify what your organisation truly needs so that you can develop the best possible solutions to boost your chances of success.

DOWNLOAD your FREE COPY of our “Structured Approach to Major Change Initiative: Sample Questions” HERE.

Or simply CONTACT US to explore how we can help your organisation enhance its leadership performance.