Traits of a successful leader

Becoming an effective leader requires entrepreneurs and upper management to develop a specific set of skills. These key skills include the ability to value people, lead by example, display a strong character and understand the company's missions and values.

Valuing people

It's important to view people working underneath you as just that – people, not cogs in a machine. Realize that every person has dreams, goals and aspirations and help them achieve these objectives when possible. An effective leader will connect with his or her workers on a personal level.

“Instead of squeezing every last drop of sweat from those under your authority, make it a point to encourage good performance and emphasize positive relationships,” News Olio suggests. “Let people know you care about them, and not just about the work they do. Warm greetings, personal comments and friendly conversation at lunch or after hours help to smooth workplace relations.”

Lead by example

Management frequently wants the most efficiency in terms of production from their workers, but how often do they practice what they preach? Rather than spending all day in meetings, on the phone or at business lunches, supervisors should try to work side by side with employees to show their commitment to a company.

The misconception of upper management sitting at their desks and twiddling their thumbs all day is still a strong one among many workers. Leaders shouldn't be afraid of taking on the hard assignments themselves and showing how they can perform just like any other worker.

Display a strong character

Members of upper management need to remember that they are always under the watchful eye of their workers. They need to display a strong character if they want to command the respect of their employees.

“Control negative emotions like anger, frustration and irritation,” News Olio asserts. “Practice good judgment, patience and fair play in dealing with office situations. Leaders sit on pedestals. Everything you do will be magnified and evaluated by those you work with.”

Know the company

The goals of a company should also be those of a leader, but truly knowing a business goes further than that. Kaizen principles suggest that management and everyone else in a company need to truly be aligned with the vision and mission of a business to ensure it is truly successful. Everything should be done to drive an organization forward.