Truly successful organizations thrive due to effective leadership. The metrics of “success” vary by organization and I would argue that such fluidity is integral to any organization’s growth. However, no matter what measurements your organization uses as best business practice, there are several core universal traits and characteristics of effective leaders.
Some of these common traits are:
Possessing self-awareness: Effective leaders know that it is imperative to understand one’s strengths and weaknesses. Too many managers focus solely on strengths and while that is integral to success, leaders see awareness of weakness as a positive attribute. The effective leader knows that no one person excels at everything and embraces the opportunities that so-called “weaknesses” bring.
Having clear goals and vision: Effective leaders realize organizations can't flourish without clearly defined goals and a vision that has been properly communicated to the team. The goals must be achievable while also being a stretch to attain. Goals and vision thrive when the message is delivered with passion and motivation. It is imperative that results are communicated throughout the organization.
Embracing failure: I can’t stress enough that true growth does NOT stem from achievement alone. Rather, success derives from the continual practice of the art of the possible. Effective leaders know this and are not scared of mistakes; they welcome the challenge of overcoming obstacles and turning them into hard-learned success.
Communicating openly and honestly: Gone are the days of closed and dictatorial managerial edicts that only serve to stifle creativity and problem solving. Effective leaders employ and welcome an “open door” policy when it comes to intra-organizational communication because it leads to developing best practices.
Risk-taking: Effective leaders are NOT risk averse. Likewise, they are not fast and loose with directionless risk. Rather, the risks taken are deliberate, decisive, and calculated.
Understanding the organization: Of all the characteristics listed above, this one is the most important. Effective leaders understand their organization from all possible angles. They know what the objectives are and the required skills to achieve results. They welcome and encourage diversity of opinion that is created by a culture of success that allows people to succeed in their team roles.