Leadership Lead With Character

Leadership requires an array of skills and characteristics that may seem hard to pinpoint; one attribute often neglected by leaders is character.

Leaders with character understand their moral obligations to uphold ethical integrity and deliver selfless service, even under difficult conditions. They seek the truth and do what’s right despite any consequences.

1. Empathy

Empathy is an integral component of great leadership. According to Forbes’ most recent article on empathy as the most essential skill, empathy enables leaders to connect with those they lead in order to motivate them and inspire their best work. Empathy also allows leaders to detect signs of burnout among employees early enough and take proactive steps (such as giving time off, reducing workload or addressing other potential stressors) before the damage becomes permanent.

Empathetic leaders also understand the unique perspectives each employee brings to the workplace, which helps foster an atmosphere of diversity and inclusion that fosters creativity.

Employees who feel heard and valued are more likely to trust their leaders, which in turn creates a more productive work environment and contributes to worker happiness and ultimately company success. A command and control leadership style does not contribute to either employee happiness or company growth; therefore, today’s leaders must cultivate empathy while building emotional intelligence – for more information about this topic please read our blog on How to Cultivate Emotional Intelligence.

2. Integrity

Leadership experts and gurus often emphasize integrity as one of the cornerstones of good leadership. This means making decisions based on moral principles rather than shifting tides or social influences, and holding themselves accountable for their actions.

Integrity allows leaders to be honest with their team members even if it could potentially damage the company in the short-term. It helps build trust between team members and leaders and can motivate team members towards project completion as planned, which in turn drives success for everyone involved.

Honesty in team environments can be challenging, particularly if the topic at hand involves failures or mistakes that need correcting. However, being open with team members allows them to understand what happened and why so they can learn from this experience.

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Leaders with integrity should also listen carefully to their team members, giving each the space needed to express themselves freely. While this may present additional challenges in remote work environments, such relationships are crucial to creating positive working relationships and treating all team members fairly.

3. Courage

Courageous leadership means pushing beyond one’s comfort zone and taking risks. This type of leadership helps bring about change and innovation within an organization while listening to others, delegating responsibility, and empowering employees – creating an ideal working environment and increasing employee engagement.

Courageous leaders engage openly and frequently with their team members. They have the courage to admit when they don’t know something and actively seek guidance; they share information without hoarding it; encourage feedback without letting ego interfere; they are flexible in responding quickly when needed and don’t hold anything back.

They also possess the courage to make difficult decisions even if this results in resistance from peers or customers. For instance, they might decide to lay off employees for the greater good of the company. Furthermore, these leaders set higher standards for themselves and their employees alike by pushing boundaries and breaking old habits while always acting morally.

Finally, courageous leaders possess the fortitude to recognize unproductive, unhealthy or counter-productive situations and leave them behind – something crucial to being an effective leader. Being willing to take a risk in pursuit of their own and their team’s well-being is what sets successful leaders apart from those that simply follow orders blindly.

4. Humility

People rarely consider humility when considering leadership skills; however, research demonstrates otherwise. Humble leaders play a vital role in creating trust and facilitating learning – two essential components of good leadership.

An honest leader recognizes they may have blind spots, and are open to learning from others to improve their performance. A humble leader also appreciates and acknowledges contributions made by their team members and gives credit where due.

Humility is an invaluable characteristic for leaders. In an environment that encourages greed and egotism, remaining humble is vitally important as one advances their career. Staying humble may become increasingly difficult as one rises through their career; arrogance often precedes ethical failure; humility provides a great antidote by keeping focus on external forces rather than oneself.

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Intellectual humility is also key in becoming a successful leader. Humble leaders can recognize and embrace their team’s best ideas, leading to innovation and ultimately success – becoming some of the most reliable leaders in business.

5. Determination

Determination is a trait that helps leaders remain committed to their goals and stay on the right path, and often goes hand-in-hand with persistence; that ability allows leaders to push forward even after setbacks occur.

Determined leaders have strong conviction that their vision will succeed and work hard to build high-performing teams to support them on this journey. They understand they can’t do it alone so they strive hard to bring on board like-minded colleagues that share this goal.

Leaders possess a clear plan and are willing to face challenges, picking themselves back up when necessary and finding alternative routes forward. It is this mindset which allows leaders to achieve incredible feats — like when Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel doubled executive meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic so his team could deliver 100 million doses of vaccine in just 12 months!

My uncle owned several restaurants, and every time he visited one of his establishments he would inspect its quality of service. If he saw something amiss (e.g. a napkin on the floor), instead of simply asking one of his employees to clean it himself he’d grab his dustpan and broom and do it himself!

6. Vision

A good leader must have the ability to see an ideal future for those they lead, which allows them to anticipate unforeseen challenges and guide their team through difficult periods. Their vision may not necessarily be limited to written mission and vision statements but may manifest through actions and beliefs as well.

Leaders need to be able to set goals and establish achievable objectives to craft a vision for those they lead, which requires setting clear goals, setting specific measures of success, communicating this vision effectively and showing it off in action – skills which can be taught, learned and practiced over time.

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Vision should be established using one or two cardinal values that support the goal and reinforced regularly. Aiming for impactful communication using imagery and emotional language rather than simply telling people what needs to be done can make all the difference in fostering success and inspiring motivation among employees.

Consider how a conductor helps orchestral players produce beautiful music together under his or her guidance, illustrating leadership at its finest, when artists give all of their energy, talent and time towards something they believe in – an exemplary demonstration of leadership that we need to foster and enhance further. This provides a tangible example of leadership we should strive towards developing further and improving upon.

7. Humility

Humility may not be at the top of everyone’s list when considering leadership qualities, but it should be. Humility allows leaders to admit mistakes, recognize their limitations and allow other team members to make their own decisions without interference from above. Humility is essential in building trust and respect among team members.

Becoming humble can help you overcome your ego and tap into the collective knowledge of your team, as well as being more open to new ideas or innovations that might not have crossed your mind before.

Humility can also be an effective way to demonstrate to your team that you care about them and their needs; failing which, they could perceive you as self-centered and be less inclined to trust or support you in the future.

Maintaining humility may not always come easily, but its results can be highly advantageous to both your career and company. Studies have revealed that humility has been linked with positive outcomes such as higher-performing leadership teams, increased collaboration and flexibility and an overall increase in customer satisfaction.