Good leaders are hard to find. While powerful people commonly possess some sort of platform for impacting others—be it through money, fame or charisma—this does not make them effective leaders. To take it a step further, a lack of leadership skills can and often does chip away at the very power these individuals possess.
So what makes a great leader? Is there a certain set of skills or characteristics that can be groomed to become an effective leader?
Here are 4 leadership qualities beginning with the letter C every good leader (and aspiring leader) should groom and apply.
Some folks call it “honesty”, some “equitable treatment”, others “accountability”. However, when it comes to leadership, what they are often referring to is consistency. Think about it. If you treat one employee differently than another in similar scenarios—or if you have a different set of rules for one employee than for others—your leadership style will likely be characterized as ‘unfair’, ‘less than honest’ or even ‘discriminatory’. Needless to say, your interaction with those workers or team members who feel this way will likely not end well. Being consistent moves beyond issues of honesty by clarifying that the actions taken, whether rewarding or punitive, are being applied in an equitable and accountable manner. It can also ensure your vision is conveyed evenly to the relevant stakeholders.
Great leaders are often great communicators even if this communication comes in the form of acts more than words. Mother Teresa communicated her inspired leadership primarily through deeds and acts. Martin Luther King Jr. relied on a resounding baritone delivery that provoked great empathy and emotion. Abraham Lincoln offered both wit and gravity. All of these leaders were clear in their intent when they spoke or acted. Great leaders often communicate in clear ways that are hard to misconstrue whether you agree with them or not. Accordingly, clear and healthy lines of communication go a long way toward forging a productive and healthy work environment.
A positive, inspired and optimistic outlook is infectious. A confident leader can instill meaning and excitement even into the most mundane or repetitious of tasks. Confidence conveys a sense of cause or purpose and, in a team environment, this can equate to increased productivity, innovation and loyalty. A confident leader is easy to follow.
Delegating responsibility is an art. When done well, it establishes all participants as important stakeholders in the process while making everything run smoother. Effective leaders are often effective coordinators who know how to utilize their human resources in productive and rewarding ways. They delegate strategically and get the most out of their teams by understanding the qualities of each individual member. Great leaders groom their team members to be accountable to the overall team, mobilize their particular strengths and capacities, and then entrust them to fulfill their role.