Post by Jane K. Stimmler, contributing Women On Business writer
Last week’s post began a conversation on women and leadership. I presented the first five of ten leadership qualities we discuss in the book Breaking Into the Boys’ Club 2009. This week, I list the first five leadership qualities and discuss the final five.
Top Leadership Qualities
From last week’s blog…
- Tune In to Others
- Be Trustworthy
- Stay Open Minded
- Be Decisive
The “final five”…
6. Roll Up Your Sleeves
While delegation is an important and necessary skill, in challenging times a leader sometimes needs to get down in the trenches with her team. Rolling up your sleeves and being seen as a hands-on manager in a crisis or high pressure situation will go a long way in motivating your staff. You will command their respect and not be seen as a prima donna.
7. Grace Under Pressure
Even in the face of adversity, your job as a leader is to calm and inspire those around you. While you may be as upset as anyone about the loss of a large client, a change in senior management or your company’s acquisition, you’re paid to maintain your composure, communicate the message consistent with senior management’s, and show maturity to your staff as well as those above you.
8. Take Risks
Are you bold enough to go out on a limb? Are you willing to step up and speak out? Risk-taking requires courage – whether you take on an assignment that stretches your skills, put yourself on the line with a daring idea, or disagree with the group if you see things going in the wrong direction. In order to grow and gain respect, it is important to be willing to take calculated risks and brave enough to face rejection.
9. Have a Vision
Develop a vision for your area of responsibility. Where do you see your division going? Expand your thinking beyond the tactical and have a clear idea of the “big picture.” Think about where you’re leading your group, why you’re headed in that direction and what the company’s overall strategy is. It’s up to you to help others see your “vision” so they understand their contribution to the larger goal. Repeat your vision at the beginning and end of meetings, so your staff is always reminded of where you – and they – are going.
10. Tap Into Strengths
Are you aware of people’s major strengths? Can you identify them in your team members? Once you pinpoint these areas, it will enable you to more effectively tap into your available resources. By being perceptive about those around you and what they bring to the table, you’ll be able to develop your people by building on their strengths and putting together more effective working teams.
How many of these qualities do you possess? What other leadership qualities do you think are important? Please share!
Training Connection says
Great list! I think that leadership does not start when you get into management but when you take initiative to be a go-to person, to be impartial and objective and to be enthusiastic and calm about unexpected tasks. Everyone’s job is a lesson in being a good example but only few actually do that part of their job. The rest put too many expectations on the boss and leave none for themselves besides expecting to get paid and a future salary increase.