1. A good leader has an exemplary character. It is of utmost importance that a leader is trustworthy to lead others. A leader needs to be trusted and be known to live their life with honestly and integrity. A good leader "walks the talk" and in doing so earns the right to have responsibility for others. True authority is born from respect for the good character and trustworthiness of the person who leads.
2. A good leader is enthusiastic about their work or cause and also about their role as leader. People will respond more openly to a person of passion and dedication. Leaders need to be able to be a source of inspiration, and be a motivator towards the required action or cause. Although the responsibilities and roles of a leader may be different, the leader needs to be seen to be part of the team working towards the goal. This kind of leader will not be afraid to roll up their sleeves and get dirty.
3. A good leader is confident. In order to lead and set direction a leader needs to appear confident as a person and in the leadership role. Such a person inspires confidence in others and draws out the trust and best efforts of the team to complete the task well. A leader who conveys confidence towards the proposed objective inspires the best effort from team members.
4. A leader also needs to function in an orderly and purposeful manner in situations of uncertainty. People look to the leader during times of uncertainty and unfamiliarity and find reassurance and security when the leader portrays confidence and a positive demeanor.
5. Good leaders are tolerant of ambiguity and remain calm, composed and steadfast to the main purpose. Storms, emotions, and crises come and go and a good leader takes these as part of the journey and keeps a cool head.
6. A good leader, as well as keeping the main goal in focus, is able to think analytically. Not only does a good leader view a situation as a whole, but is able to break it down into sub parts for closer inspection. While keeping the goal in view, a good leader can break it down into manageable steps and make progress towards it.
7. A good leader is committed to excellence. Second best does not lead to success. The good leader not only maintains high standards, but also is proactive in raising the bar in order to achieve excellence in all areas.
These seven personal characteristics are foundational to good leadership. Some characteristics may be more naturally present in the personality of a leader. However, each of these characteristics can also be developed and strengthened. A good leader whether they naturally possess these qualities or not, will be diligent to consistently develop and strengthen them in their leadership role.
How do you think a good leader manages crisis under stressful situations?
- Assess. Fight every instinct to react or overreact. Take a reasonable amount of time to gather data, obtain objective guidance, and develop a relatively accurate picture of the situation.
- Engage. Get your team together. Include key stakeholders, those with competence in this particular crisis, and possibly a planning facilitator. Keep this core group tight to facilitate efficient brainstorming and decision-making.
- Plan. Once you have data and a team, brainstorm, analyze and plan. Employ some form of competitive or SWOT analysis, focusing on what's changed. Then develop goals, strategies and tactics designed to capitalize on the new situation.
- Communicate. Drive the process down through the organization, communicating as transparently as is practical to obtain support. Ensure timely and effective external communication of material events. Timing is critical, as is respecting your audience.
- Execute. You know the drill. Everything up until this point is pointless if you don't execute crisply and flawlessly. Most markets are so competitive these days that solid execution is a given, not an advantage. So don't blow it.