Berger Leadership Blog

Jul 22, 2016

Exceptional leadership traits

NAFCU meeting
NAFCU staff prepping for a meeting.

There are many traits that make a good leader. From keeping open communications with your team to following through on your commitments, good traits and consistency in action can help people feel comfortable and confident following your lead.

I came across a short, but distinct list describing exceptional leadership – and I have to say, I agree with everything on it. The list, composed by Marcel Schwantes, principal and founder of Leadership From the Core, described the list as four traits that appeal to all generations. Here’s how the list describes exceptional leaders:

  1. They envision the future and get others to do the same. Inspiration is the driving force behind motivation, Schwantes says. In order to empower your team, you have to inspire them so they want to work alongside you to make your vision a reality.
  2. They take initiative and act. Great leaders take necessary and beneficial risks and “create urgency with intent and purpose,” he writes.
  3. They clarify goals and expectations. A question that should be top-of-mind for every leader is “Do my team members know what is expected of them?” Schwantes suggests.
  4. They communicate with their mouths and ears. Schwantes spends some extra time on this point, noting that this really involves sitting down with your employees and teammates and getting to know them: their likes, dislikes, strengths and interests. Cultivating this leadership skill takes time and a lot of listening – but it’s worth it.

Elaborating on his last point some more: Setting aside time for individual meetings with your employees can be a huge benefit to you and your organization. You might learn of another skill or interest of one of your teammates that can be applied to another project or area of work, for example. And equally important, it shows your employees how much you value them.

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