Developing Your Career

Developing Your Career

Everyone Has Opportunities to Lead: Six Traits That Will Increase Your Potential as a Leader

By JC Heinen on July 15, 2013

The terms “manager” and “leader” are often used interchangeably. But there are important differences.  Being a great manager doesn’t necessarily make someone a great leader.  And great leaders aren’t necessarily great managers.  The manager’s job is to get things done, to effectively plan and execute in order to achieve business goals.  Leaders are responsible for creating a vision and inspiring others to follow.  But leadership doesn’t have to be hierarchical.  Everyone can be a leader in his or her role.  Here are six key characteristics of effective leaders:

  1. Leaders are visionaries. They grasp the wide landscape of the organization, oversee the setting of organizational goals and inspire employees to go above and beyond to achieve organizational goals.
  2. Leaders are “idea people”. Rather than merely maintaining the status quo, authentic leaders thrive in a world of ideas, innovation, and solutions, always searching for ways to improve products, productivity, processes, service, quality and culture.
  3. Leaders know when to delegate. An effective leader provides employees with the development and resources needed to succeed, and then empowers them to drive projects to completion.
  4. Leaders cultivate loyalty through powerful people skills. Leaders are confident but not arrogant; they treat employees with respect and recognize the importance of sharing organizational success with team members.
  5. Leaders develop other leaders. Always cognizant of the long-range vision, leaders know the value of mentoring, coaching and developing team members for building and maintaining a pipeline of skilled leaders within the organization.
  6. Leaders set the standard. Leaders welcome the scrutiny of their workforce. That’s because they make a conscious commitment to ethical behavior, demonstrate respect for the both the organization and workforce, and recognize that in today’s Internet-driven environment, a career-ending comment or decision could be just one click away.

As a leader, which characteristics do you model consistently and which might be opportunities for to enhance your effectiveness?


Leave a Reply