There are, of course, many traits found within successful and effective leaders. The six I’ve listed here are almost universal.
1. Make others feel important.
If your goals and decisions are self-centered, and obviously so, followers will lose their enthusiasm quickly. Be certain to emphasize their strengths and contributions not just your own.
2. Promote a vision.
Followers need a clear idea of where you’re leading them. They need to understand why a goal is valuable to them and that vision must remain constant. A vision of the week will quickly turn enthusiasm into cynicism. Your rjob as a leader is to provide that vision.
3. Follow the golden rule.
Treat your followers the way you enjoy being treated. An abusive leader will run off the productive and vital thinkers he needs to reach the vision.
4. Admit mistakes.
If people suspect that you’re covering up your own errors, they’ll hide their mistakes too. What’s worse, you will soon discover you’ll lack the valuable information you need for making decisions.
5. Criticize in private, praise in public.
Public praise enqourages others to excel (if the praise is genuine and percieved by the others as being deserved), but public criticism only embarrasses and alienates everyone.
6. Stay close to the action.
You need to be visible to the members of your organization. In their 1982 book In Search Of Excellence, authors Tom Peters and Robert H Waterman, Jr. coined the phrase Management by Wandering Around. Too many leaders lead cloistered lives inside office buildings and offices. Instead, talk to people, develop real relationships, visit other offices and worksites (there’s a side bebenfit to this – you can control the length of the conversation when you visit by simply leaving when you’re ready), ask questions, and observe how business is being handled. You will gain new insights into your work and the work of those you lead and manage. You will also find new opportunities for motivating your followers.