Leadership traits and styles
Leadership traits refer to personal qualities that define effective leaders. Leadership refers to the ability of an individual or an organization to guide individuals, teams, or organizations toward the fulfillment of goals and objectives. It plays an important function in management, as it helps maximize efficiency and achieve strategic and organizational goals. Leaders help motivate others, provide guidance, build morale, improve the work environment, and initiate action.
List of Effective Leadership Traits
A common misconception is that individuals are just naturally gifted with leadership skills. The truth is that leadership traits, like other skills, can be acquired with time and practice. Below are seven traits of an effective leader:
1. Effective Communicators
Leaders are excellent communicators, able to clearly and concisely explain problems and solutions. Leaders know when to talk and when to listen. In addition, leaders are able to communicate on different levels: one-on-one, via phone, email, etc.
2. Accountable and Responsible
Leaders hold themselves accountable and take responsibility for any mistakes. Leaders support and encourage individuality while abiding by organizational structure, rules, and policies that need to be followed.
3. Long-term Thinkers
Leaders are visionaries. This is evidenced by the leadership trait of being able to plan for the future through concrete and quantifiable goals. They understand the need for continuous change and are open to trying new approaches to solve problems or improve processes.
Leaders are self-motivated and are able to keep going and attain goals despite setbacks. In addition, good leaders try their best to exceed, not just meet, expectations.
Virtually all good leaders share the leadership trait of confidence. They are able to make tough decisions and lead with authority. By being confident, leaders are able to reassure and inspire others, establish open communications, and encourage teamwork.
As you develop leadership styles, you’ll likely use different processes and methods to achieve your employer’s objectives and meet the needs of the employees who report to you. To be effective as a manager, you might use several different leadership styles at any given time.
Types of leadership styles
Here are the ten most common leadership styles:
1. Coaching Leadership
A coaching leader is someone who can quickly recognize their team members’ strengths, weaknesses and motivations to help each individual improve. This type of leader often assists team members in setting smart goals and then provides regular feedback with challenging projects to promote growth. They’re skilled in setting clear expectations and creating a positive, motivating environment.
2. Visionary Leadership
Visionary leaders have a powerful ability to drive progress and usher in periods of change by inspiring employees and earning trust for new ideas. A visionary leader is also able to establish a strong organizational bond. They strive to foster confidence among direct reports and colleagues alike.
3. Servant Leadership
Servant leaders live by a people-first mindset and believe that when team members feel personally and professionally fulfilled, they’re more effective and more likely to produce great work regularly. Because of their emphasis on employee satisfaction and collaboration, they tend to achieve higher levels of respect.
4. Autocratic Leadership
Also called the authoritarian style of leadership, this type of leader is someone who is focused almost entirely on results and efficiency. They often make decisions alone or with a small, trusted group and expect employees to do exactly what they’re asked. It can be helpful to think of these types of leaders as military commanders.
5. Laissez-faire or hands-off Leadership
This leadership style is the opposite of the autocratic leadership type, focusing mostly on delegating many tasks to team members and providing little to no supervision. Because a laissez-faire leader does not spend their time intensely managing employees, they often have more time to dedicate to other projects.
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