What makes a good leader?

One of the main sessions that will stick with me was delivered by Howard Petch, an ex-agricultural lecturer who provided us with his reflections on leadership.

Here I share a taster from that session and the ten questions to ask yourself when on the path to becoming or being a successful leader.

1. How well do you know yourself?

Before becoming a successful leader you need a strong understanding of your own character. Knowing what motivates you, your strengths and weaknesses and your values and beliefs, for example, all has an influence on how you are perceived by others.

As a leader you are a role model and being self-aware can ensure you are presenting yourself in the way you would like to be received by those you work with.

  1. Are you emotionally intelligent?

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ‘Ability to understand your effect on others and manage yourself accordingly’. It’s suggested that EI accounts for nearly 90% of what helps move people up the ladder towards leadership roles.

There are four main components of EI:

  1. Self-awareness – this links back to the question above, how well do you know yourself
  2. Social awareness – how well do you take into consideration the feelings of others and show empathy. Are you able to get into the heads of others to provide help and support?
  3. Self-management – the ability to control emotions and react appropriately to challenge; self-regulation grows integrity
  4. Social skills – this is being able to ‘be friendly with purpose’ and build a rapport with your teams and colleagues

Not everyone will be strong in each of these areas but having an awareness of what ‘makes-up’ EI is key for those in leadership positions to have an understanding of.

  1. Are you an incomplete leader?

If your answer to this question is yes, then that’s ok. Recognising that there are gaps in your skill set is an important step on your leadership journey.

The key elements of leadership are:

  • Authenticity
  • Strategic focus
  • Creative thinker
  • Commercial mindset
  • Performance mindset
  • Team formulation and effectiveness
  • Developing others
  • Flexibility

We are not all going to be good at all of these ‘things’, but if you can be aware of areas you may find a challenge and dedicate time to developing these skills, know that you are heading in the direction to becoming a more complete leader.

  1. Do you surround yourself with good people?

Whether in business or in your home life this saying is so true. From employing people with the right character, chemistry and competencies to finding coaches or mentors that you can work with, having a supportive network around you is key to your future success.

  1. Are you trusted by your people?

High levels of trust in leaders correlate with higher levels of employee engagement which can support positive business outcomes. As suggested by Cynthia Stuckey, fostering trust should be more than a human resource activity, it should be a business strategy.

The main drivers to helping build trust within your team include:

  • Integrity
  • Competence
  • Openness
  • Effective communications
  • Concern

Source: www.pinstone.co.uk

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