Lately I’ve been having a lot of interaction with a variety of leaders, ranging in experience, function and more. I was impressed to see diversity in the ways they were able to successfully perform the role and each conversation allowed me to understand the complexities a leader faces every day. Although many of their styles have differed, I did notice two traits that seemed to be common across the board. They were humanized and they were flexible.
With the evolution of the workplace, both with an increase in members from multiple generations and diversity, leaders now have to face the challenge of being able to perform leadership functions in a way that will be effective for the ranging personalities. With the variety of people found there, a leader must know how to be able to show the qualities that these people value to get buy-in. Although some people may disagree or have varying opinions, I appreciate the following traits in the leaders I’ve come across.
- Humanization: Although some leaders are a little more open than others, I like the ones that aren’t scared to show that they aren’t perfect. I appreciate it if a leader tells me that they don’t know something 100%, asks for help, or is willing to collaborate on something. I don’t necessarily need a perfect leader but I do want someone who can admit when they’re wrong, show that they’re willing to learn and respects his/her employees enough to trust them to take ownership on a project.
- Collaboration: Falling in line with the leaders who admit that they aren’t know-it-alls, I like it when leaders are open to working with others and/or are open to learning from one of their employees. The leaders who are willing to work together with his/her team to find a solution is one that I can have faith in.
- Flexibility: As I said earlier, the varying personalities in an organization means that a leader has to be flexible. To be able to notice when a certain way of working with someone isn’t as effective as with someone else is key when determining the best way to lead the team as a whole and the individual members. It may take a bit extra time, but it has favorable results.
- Ability to identify potential: Although a leader’s job is to forge forward and help the business to progress, it’s important for them to take a look back at those they are leading. Employees have potential, some are very vocal about it while others are a bit more subtle. Identifying the potential and finding ways to foster it is so important to helping the business grow.
- Passion to develop: I know leaders are busy and don’t necessarily have the time to notice each individual person, but that needs to change. A leader won’t be there forever, so it’s important to take the time to develop their successors to feel confident that the company and the team will be left in good hands. Developing others can even help discover new areas of opportunity that may have not been uncovered otherwise.
I’ve been lucky enough to work and learn from some really great leaders. Each of them are unique and have found a way to encompass all of these characteristics in their own way. Because of it, I’ve seen employees and the organization flourish in ways that I’ve never seen at other companies. I’m looking forward to learning from them and will find ways to incorporate these qualities and others as I progress throughout my career.