10 Critical Skills to Be an Effective Leader
What makes a leader effective? We talk a lot about the traits that define whether or not someone is a leader, but how can you determine if someone will be an effective leader? In a recent study, 195 leaders in 15 countries chose the 10 most important leadership competencies from a list of 74. Some of the qualities are more innate than others, but all take time to master.
1. Has High Ethical and Moral Standards
This one is fairly straightforward. If leaders act immorally, then their employees won’t trust their judgement. As a leader, you need to create a safe and trusting environment for your employees that will allow them to put their best work forward. Also, when a leader has high ethical standards, they attract talented people with those same standards that want to do right by the company.
2. Provides Measurable Goals and Objectives with Loose Guidelines/Direction
For the most part, people don’t want their bosses dictating how to do every aspect of their job. They want to be entrusted that they will accomplish their goals and how they go about doing that is up to them. That’s why at Volaris, we don’t put guidelines as to how people have to achieve their scorecard goals. We lay out what objectives they need to meet but we don’t interfere with how they do so, because we empower our employees to take innovative and new approaches to reach their targets.
3. Clearly Communicates Expectations
No leader can do everything by themselves. That’s why it’s critical that they delegate and distribute power amongst the organization. This includes being clear about what is expected of everyone. When a leader is clear about expectations, it empowers teams to be more productive and proactive. This leads to high levels of job satisfaction and commitment to the organization.
4. Has the Flexibility to Change Opinions
Being flexible not only demonstrates that you are willing to learn, but that you want your employees to do the same. It takes courage to admit that someone else’s idea is better but doing so shows your employees that their opinions are valid and welcome. The end result is that it fosters organizational learning and growth.
5. Is Committed to Employees' Ongoing Training
When a leader wants their employees to continue to grow and learn, it shows that they encourage learning. As I’ve said in the past, the most valuable trait of a successful leader is the willingness to learn. So it’s essential that they pass that on to their employees and encourage them to learn as well.
6. Communicates Often and Openly
Bad communication can hurt relationships, stifle growth, and prevent teams from reaching their goals. That’s why effective leaders are those that communicate often and openly. It allows them to connect with other employees and have everyone on the same page. When employees clearly know what the organization is working towards, they will be that much more dedicated to reach their goals.
7. Is Open to New Ideas and Approaches
No one likes a person who is stuck in their ways and thinks that their approach is the best 100% of the time. It takes humility and self-awareness to be open to other’s opinions. But when you’re willing to collaborate and try new approaches, it allows for innovative and great things to happen.
8. Creates a Feeling of Succeeding and Failing Together
An effective leader is an effective mentor and what do mentors do? They come alongside their mentees to guide, encourage, and help them when they stumble. By doing this, employees don’t feel the weight of the world on their shoulders and know you’re there for every step of the journey. Plus, it builds a stronger company culture when employees know they succeed and fail as one unit.
9. Helps Employees Grow into Next-Generation Leaders
What sets a boss apart from a leader is that they want to nurture growth. Effective leaders know that they are not going to be around forever, so they want to build up the next generation of leaders that will succeed them. At Volaris, we do that by creating development plans for each of our employees and give them responsibilities that will push them to grow.
10. Provides Safety for Trial and Error
In business, sometimes an approach will work and sometimes it won’t. But the fear of failure shouldn’t prevent employees from trying out a new concept or launching an initiative. At Volaris, we encourage our companies to try new initiatives by having an initiative champion and a SIG (special interest group). This gives our companies the freedom to experiment without having to worry that it will affect the core business.