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7 Traits of Highly Effective Leaders In The 21st Century

7 Traits of Highly Effective Leaders In The 21st Century

Whether you believe it or not, it takes more than just hard work to become a successful leader. The best leaders in the world, are able to use their passion to drive an organization. Your passion should absolutely be a part of who you are as a leader, but you should lead with your head as well as your heart.

People already know the more common leadership traits. Leaders have a guiding vision, are passionate and possess integrity. There are also plenty of other leadership traits, including some traits that were once thought of as being weaknesses.

You can grow and develop these traits to become a better leader and further your career; whether at home, at work, in your community or in your overall life.

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Effective Leaders are Empathic

Empathy is simply the ability to understand how people feel and also share in those feelings. Empathy is important in a workplace, because it allows you handle relationships and manage conflicts. Empathy is also important because it allows you to connect with your customers and understand them.

People don’t like to be analyzed; they want to be understood. Being empathic means a leader functions better within the business and can also use their empathy to drive the business.

Effective Leaders are Optimistic

When people think of optimism they think of hopefulness. Optimism is also the ability to have confidence that you will succeed. It’s not good to be blindly optimistic and believe everything will succeed with no basis, but optimism gives leaders the power to inspire employees and drive them forward.

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Effective Leaders Forgive

No one likes it when their boss refuses to let their mistakes go. You need to give your employees the chance to make risks and let them know that you won’t hold their mistakes against them. Not forgiving your employees when they make mistakes, kills their creativity and motivation.

It also stops them from presenting new ideas in case something goes wrong. You need to forgive mistakes and nurture the creativity of your team, so that you can inspire them to come back with new ideas and stay motivated.

Effective Leaders are Altruistic

Being altruistic means you care about other people and their success. In business this means that you want people you work with to do better, feel better and perform better. No man (or woman) is an island and you should avoid stealing all the credit.

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Altruistic people understand that everyone looks better, when everyone looks good. Altruism is a vital leadership quality, but not something that people would typically associate with success.

Effective Leaders are Eloquent

Eloquence, or the ability to write and speak in a persuasive manner, has become more important than ever in the digital age. Leaders should be able to communicate effectively and make the kinds of speeches that close deals.

Writing an eloquent memo can squash negative emotions, such as fear and dissent and inspire people to go above and beyond their limits. Take time to practice your writing and speaking to improve your eloquence and be the kind of effective leader you know you are.

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Effective Leaders are Discerning

Being discerning means that you are able to better judge things; whether it be a person, a situation or a business decision. Discerning people take the time to understand problems and come up with various solutions, until they manage to put together one that works best for everyone.

Discerning leaders take time to think about their options and avoid rushing headfirst into everything that comes their way.

Effective Leaders are Modest

People get tired of hearing you talk about how great you are. Truly great people let their work do the talking for them. It’s fine to toot your own horn a little, but don’t be the person who does it the loudest. It’s great to be confident, but it’s better to be able to temper that confidence with modesty.

The above traits are important tools for entrepreneurs and leaders who have the dedication to learn and perfect them.

Featured photo credit: Stockunlimited via Stockunlimited.com

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Andreas Jones

Business Growth Strategist, Consultant and Coach.

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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