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Guest Blog: 5 Qualities All Effective Leaders Have in Common - by Taseer (Taz) Ahmad

Thanks to my friend, Taz, for this guest blog in which he highlights some of the qualities of effective leaders.

Business leaders are the visionaries with all the power behind the organisation.

Regardless of what your business does, the industry you operate in or the type of your business, effective leadership is the same.

Sadly, if your team doesn’t see you as a good leader, they’ll quit. Then what? You’ll have a broken team and lose trust amongst the remaining and it will negatively affect your bottom line overall.

To put this into context, studies show that 57% of employees will quit their job because they want to escape a bad leader and 32% are considering quitting because of their manager.

To avoid this from happening, develop the 5 qualities all effective leaders have in common:

1. Share the Vision

Without a clear vision, you cannot be an effective leader.

The vision attracts employees in the first place because it incorporates your values and tells your employees why they are working for your business. It paints the picture of success and informs the goals everyone is working towards.

To put it differently, the vision is the final destination and leadership is the driver on the road towards that goal.

But sharing your vision in the workplace goes beyond just your mission statement.

At the end of the day, leaders are the cultural representatives of the entire organisation and need to set a good example.

Many leaders will only share the bigger picture because this seems more exciting and inspirational, but the little details are important as well. By communicating your vision and its supporting goals clearly, you can help employees form a deeper connection with their work as they see how their efforts contribute to the bigger picture.

Think of it like a jigsaw - you could give your employees all the pieces but without seeing the final picture, they won’t know how to connect the pieces together.

2. Great Listeners

Employees don’t want to simply be listened to, they want their points to be heard. Yes, there’s a difference.

Simply put, employees need constant feedback and support to better their performance so leaders need to be more mindful of their needs in order to inspire effective professional development

As a leader, it can be difficult to understand what your employees are thinking or what’s troubling them unless you really listen carefully.

Plus, listening shows respect and regard for the people that you work with. In other words, it helps to build rapport and shows your employees that you truly care for what they have to say.

At the same time, listening is reciprocated; when you’re a great listener, employees will be more likely to listen carefully to you too, which will increase your influence and improve relationships in the workplace.

3. Transparency

Transparent leaders are those who want their team to have meaningful input in important decisions and are thus open with them about issues and opportunities.

No, this doesn’t mean telling them everything - but it does mean sharing information freely so that everyone is kept in the loop and feels involved. This will positively impact efficiency and productivity.

Think about it: if you are the only one who is aware of business goals and strategies, your team will have no choice but to come and ask you for help whenever a decision has to be made. This puts a serious limitation on growth, frustrates staff and creates more stress for the leader.

However, if they know everything that they need to know, then they can start using their own initiative and make decisions for themselves within pre-agreed boundaries. As a result, your team will naturally become more agile and better at solving problems. After all, you hired your staff because you thought they were competent.

So, give employees a wider perspective by providing all the relevant information they need for efficient problem resolution.

4. Act with Integrity

In line with transparency comes integrity.

Everyone wants to be led by someone who acts with integrity, which means acting consistently in an honourable, honest and truthful way.

Research reveals that 75% of employees ranked integrity as the most important quality of a leader.

An obvious but valid point, employees want to feel safe in their working environment knowing that their leader will advocate for them and treat them fairly.

As such, it is important for leaders to act with integrity to build trust with their teams.

Tip: You will know you have integrity when it costs you something to do the right thing and you still do it.

5. Open to Risks

The future of your business is full of opportunities but these can only be realised if a leader is open to taking risks.

Good leaders will take calculated risks and be willing to go through difficulties to succeed. They will have the confidence to make and implement strategic decisions for the future of the business even when the available information is incomplete (which is virtually always!) or even contradictory. However, they are not rash, and they are aware that mistakes are made. They remain effective by quickly minimising the effects of wrong decisions and by just as quickly maximising the opportunities arising from those which are right.

At the same time, being open to taking risks creates an environment whereby out-of-the-box thinking and creative problem solving is encouraged; traits that are virtually essential in most businesses today.

Unfortunately, some people will not take risks because they are afraid of failure, being thought of as weak/incompetent or because they do not want to be held accountable for their mistakes.

But, the potential rewards of reasoned risk-taking are great and include market leadership, business longevity and well-motivated staff.

The Bottom Line

Of course, becoming an effective leader will not happen overnight: it is a process that requires you to assess your own strengths and evaluate who you are as both a communicator and a collaborator.

Once you reflect on your own behavioural style and leadership approach, you will have a better picture of where you need to make adjustments and you can then take action to develop your leadership style range and become a more effective leader.

To learn more, get in touch with us today.

This blog was produced in collaboration with SME Capital and Weightru.

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