12 Hard Truths About Leadership That Will Make You Smarter
Leadership is vital in any situation: whether raising children, captaining a team, overseeing a department or running an entire corporation. Even in today’s increasingly flat organizations and employee empowerment schemes, people still require guidance.
Great leaders know their own insecurities and work on them; they know which tasks energize them while leaving others to drain away their vitality.
1. They’re Passionate About Their Work
Passionate leaders energize others, not simply with words but by their actions as well. They have an intense drive to meet their goals head on while eagerly meeting any challenges that come their way.
Change-driven leaders possess an openness to change that can disrupt long-established organizational practices and positions themselves and their teams for success.
Passions leaders disprove the misconception that only younger workers are passionate about their jobs. Their research shows that everyone can develop passions for work regardless of age – learning, reading and engaging in professional development opportunities to keep those fires burning when they begin to dim down can refuel one’s enthusiasm when their spark wanes – ultimately creating an atmosphere of passion and engagement which increases productivity and leads to productivity gains.
2. They’re Not Afraid to Take Risks
On paper, it may seem that smart leaders excel at leading due to their ability to quickly comprehend complex situations, find workable solutions for difficult problems quickly, and acquire knowledge and expertise quickly – but in reality there is very little correlation between intelligence and leadership potential.
The best leaders recognize they don’t always have all of the answers and take risks (like altering how they fill out reports) that help them learn from failure. Furthermore, they understand their title and power can intimidate other individuals, so they aim to make people feel comfortable when sharing ideas with them. Furthermore, they listen carefully and genuinely while avoiding making assumptions or jumping to conclusions based on biases of their own.
3. They’re Good Communicators
Great leaders know how to make smart decisions that positively affect their team and customers, while at the same time being mindful when to pause for further investigation or change the perspective on an issue.
Maloney notes that excellent leaders possess the skill necessary to keep conversations professional despite emotional factors at play. For instance, when employees voice negative opinions against coworkers or companies, leaders understand how best to respond in a productive and respectful manner.
Maloney highlights as one of the key lessons of good leadership is constant learning. He states that successful companies may become complacent after experiencing success for some time; eventually this type of approach may collapse into chaos as success breeds blindness to new approaches. Great leaders use Cynefin framework to identify prevailing circumstances and adapt accordingly.
4. They’re Good Listeners
Leaders should listen to a wide variety of perspectives – be they online comments, frontline staff members or executive team members. Accumulating information and dispelling misconceptions requires listening closely.
Listening without distraction is no small task in today’s busy world; should they need clarification after listening, they politely ask after the speaker has completed speaking.
Reminder of Our Own Subjectivity and Finitude As listeners, real leaders acknowledge their own subjectivity and finitude when making evaluations and should evaluate with the humility that comes from seeing parts, not wholes. Rebuke can even be welcome; true leaders actively seek it out (Proverbs 19:18). Finally, when acting they do it responsibly – that’s how real leaders behave!
5. They’re Good Decision Makers
Good leaders make decisions that lead to success – be they choosing left or right in a post-apocalyptic landscape or selecting team members for an upcoming project.
Your best option quickly identified, you know when and how to evaluate risk and take appropriate action in response to it. Know when it is appropriate to seek more information or input and when to go with their gut instinct.
Environments, norms, and systems created by leaders enable their direct reports to make ethical choices in day-to-day operations, making their organization more resilient against change. Consistency among leaders fosters trust within an organization resulting in the ultimate success for both staff and company alike.
6. They’re Good Communicators with Others
Effective communication is an integral component of leadership success, enabling leaders to convey a clear vision, establish connections among staff members, and foster alignment across an entire organization.
Strong leaders communicate in multiple forms, including writing, conversing, and presenting. Additionally, they recognize that their actions send a message, so they strive to model behaviors which reflect organizational values.
Attentive leaders know how to communicate clearly and concisely, avoiding corporate speak in favor of sounding authentic. They don’t shy away from admitting their mistakes or showing vulnerabilities – knowing that people want genuine leaders who remain true to themselves. Furthermore, these leaders do not engage in gossiping about coworkers or companies; instead they find effective strategies for handling conflicts effectively that keep teams productive while still meeting task requirements on time – saving on tangible expenses like turnover as well as intangible ones like morale issues.
7. They’re Good Communicators with Theirself
Leaders are charged with cultivating an environment of trust and collaboration in their workplace, which can be a difficult job to do successfully. Any miscommunication between employees or between departments could quickly turn into conflict, resentment or distrust – costing your business in both lost productivity and additional out-of-pocket expenses.
Therefore, leaders must engage in open communication, authenticity and vulnerability with themselves as well as others. This means taking time to assess their performance and identify areas for improvement while opening up to both leadership coaches and trusted team members for advice or mentoring.
Effective leaders possess an array of communication skills – writing, conversing, presenting – which allow them to get their point across without resorting to flowery language and unnecessary jargon. Doing this saves both time and energy in the long run – an asset in today’s hurried society!
8. They’re Good Communicators with Their Team
Excellent leaders have the ability to express themselves effectively whether via email or verbal means, and are adept at conveying their ideas clearly and concisely. They know how to craft logical, friendly emails that get their points across without using complicated, incomprehensible language; instead they use language which is easy for all their audience members to comprehend.
Communication is of utmost importance for successful teams. They communicate their vision to team members, outline each role’s contribution to it and set clear goals to meet those goals. Furthermore, they solicit employee feedback while offering constructive criticism when necessary.
Empathetic managers also take an interest in their employees’ professional and personal lives, listening without judgment or resentment, communicating openly even during difficult conversations, and prioritizing relationships over all else. Furthermore, these leaders don’t shy away from taking risks or showing vulnerability, building trust.
9. They’re Good Communicators with Their Customers
Leaders must build relationships with customers and stay abreast of current trends, something which can only be accomplished through open dialogue between employees and customers. People will only open up when they feel someone has their best interests in mind; leaders should understand this fact and create environments which foster these dialogues between employees and customers that foster open conversations rather than monologues.
Great leaders don’t shy away from taking risks. This doesn’t mean being reckless; rather they embrace experimentation with new ideas or products and accept that some risks may fail – accepting this failure as part of the learning experience is part of being a leader. Furthermore, great leaders use sound judgment to minimize risks as much as possible so their organizations can reach new heights of performance.
10. They’re Good Communicators with Their Employees
Communicating open and honest discussions with employees is one of the best ways to ensure they remain on track with meeting individual and organizational goals. If an employee doesn’t know what’s expected of them, this can have a devastating effect on their work performance.
Effective communication goes beyond exchanging ideas and information – it also involves actively listening. Leaders who actively listen to their employees are better able to comprehend their perspectives and knowledge, leading to more engaging discussions that promote trust, respect and alignment in their teams.
Smart leaders recognize they don’t have all of the answers and aren’t afraid to seek assistance from team members when needed. Additionally, they understand mistakes are sometimes made and take responsibility for any wrongdoings that occur – demonstrating an impressive level of emotional intelligence in themselves and their team members.