The 5 Most Important Leadership Qualities

by Ben on April 1, 2010

As I mentioned in another article, anyone can be a manger.  However, if you want to truly inspire, motivate, and continually improve the performance of your team or organization, you need to understand the five most important qualities of leadership:

  1. Personal Commitment
  2. Passion
  3. Walking the Talk
  4. Actively Caring
  5. Trust

Personal Commitment:

If you want to build your stock as a leader within an organization, you need to be personally committed to the goals of the team, division, or organization. 

When you lack a personal commitment to the expected outcome of a task, your team will see right through you.  Your team will begin asking themselves why they should care about performing well if their supervisor isn’t sure if it is the right thing to do.

No matter what goal a team is working towards, each individual needs a sense of purpose.  They need to understand that what they are doing is important.  An effective leader instills this sense of purpose in his or her team by demonstrating they are personally committed to the groups goals or objectives.

Passion:

Along with a personal commitment to the objectives of your team, demonstrating passion for these objectives is also very important.  As a general rule, most people are fascinated by what their boss finds interesting

The more you are able to demonstrate your passion about your organization’s  goals, procedures, and policies, the more interested your team members will be in executing them.

Walk the Talk:

Like trust, your ability to lead, inspire, and motivate people is developed over time.  Unfortunately, it only takes one misstep to lose this ability.

If your team members hear you saying one thing, and then see you doing another, your credibility as a leader will be severely damaged.

To effectively lead within any group or organization, you MUST maintain a strict adherence to the team’s vision, mission, and core values.  Remember, it only takes a second to lose your credibility as a leader.

Actively Caring:

When you demonstrate that you truly care for the people within your organization, they are more likely to trust you and show a willingness to follow your guidance. 

Demonstrating to your team members that you actively care for them goes far beyond periodically asking how their family is doing.  To truly demonstrate that you care about your team members, you need to engage them in conversations about their goals and aspirations.

You need to sit down with each member on your team to create a career progression plan with them.  It may be counter intuitive to some, but in my experience, developing a person (even if it means they may jump ship for an opportunity outside your organization) is the best way to demonstrate you care.

Demonstrating that you care to your team members may also mean that you need to have the occasional difficult conversation to correct any improvement areas in their performance.

When an employee knows they have the full support of their supervisor(s), they are more willing to stay within the organization even if they might be paid slightly more with another company.

Trust:

In a previous article I explained the Seven C’s of building trust. If you haven’t yet read my article on building trust, it compliments this article quite well. As a quick review, here is list of the 7 factors that help you build trust:

The Seven Elements of Building Trust:

  1. Communication
  2. Consistency
  3. Commitment
  4. Consensus
  5. Character
  6. Candor
  7. Caring

How important is trust when it comes to leadership? Look at it this way; would you ever be able to recognize another person as a leader if you were unable to trust them? Trust is the bond the holds the other 4 qualities of leadership together.

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