4 Key Attributes of Transformational Leaders that Set Them Apart
What is best in a leader? This is a question that people have asked themselves time and time again. Many do not consider, however, there is a base group of traits that can apply to a wide range of leadership styles in order to maximize their effectiveness.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you aspire to be the best leader that you can be.
“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”
– James Heller
Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your team are not enough. A good leader must push to develop them to their fullest potential. Recognize who can handle more responsibility and give it to them. Those whom you are leading may not like it at first(in fact, they will probably hate you for it) but as they start to shine they will remember who believed in them.
Build the up so that you will have a team that is growing in skill AND loyalty.
2. Humble Nature
"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. "—Lao Tzu
Lead for results, not credit. As your team grows more capable be sure to praise their efforts and more importantly, let them have most of the glory. If you have a boss, they will be well-aware of who is keeping this new, well-oiled machine alive. After all, they were wise enough to pick you, were they not?
An excellent leader stays in the shadows, keeping things organized and only stepping out when correction is needed. Inspire them to succeed and if they are keeping on task then don't get in their way.
“There is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you.” -Machiavelli , 'the Prince'
There are a number of things that can go right and wrong on a project. You need to know all of these things. Therefore, cultivate a comfort-zone for private communication. This could be regular one-on-one office meetings or the occasionally shared coffee-break. The important thing is that it needs to be isolated and that free speaking(respectful and within reason, of course) must be encouraged.
While it is easier to designate a Team-leader that you can have these conversations with this is not as efficient as communication with EACH INDIVIDUAL MEMBER. Let them speak frankly but respectfully and lead the conversation with questions. Do not punish them harshly if you hear something that you don't like. This doesn't mean you should brook incompetence but rather that you should know if you are giving them too many things to juggle.
Remember, if someone can't meet a deadline or they have been given a task that is beyond them then this may be partially your fault. Get them the help that they need or get them reassigned but don't be nasty about it. If they trust that you will give them the resources that they need to succeed then they will tackle their tasks with confidence and they will let you know when something is in the way.
4. Authoritative Competence
"Without Knowledge, Skill cannot be focused. Without Skill, Strength cannot be brought to bear and without Strength, Knowledge may not be applied." -Alexander the Great.
How many CEOS do you see that look out of shape? How many do you meet that speak poorly?
You need to work as much as possible towards being someone that people will WANT to lead them.
Take care of your health. Exercise your body and your mind. Appearances aside, if you are strong in mind and body then it will make what you need to do easier. You will have more energy if your body is strong. If your mind is constantly being fed new knowledge then you will be more aware. If you putting what you learn to practice then you will be more confident and capable.
Being a leader is hard work and it is important that the ones you are leading are aware of this. Appear tireless and well-informed, not for the sake of the show, but because you are.
Demonstrate in your actions just how difficult it is to be in charge.
No one said that this would be easy but you have that spark of greatness. Recognize it in yourself and get started becoming the type of leader who gets things done!