Leadership skills are always in demand. You want to be seen as a strong leader, and you recognize the value of developing leadership skills in yourself as you progress in your career.
But how do you know which skills to focus on? What are considered the top leadership traits?
In late 2014 Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman released the findings from a study they conducted to identify top leadership traits for leaders in their current position. They found that certain leadership traits were consistently important, despite the level of leadership held.
The top 7 traits were listed as follows:
- Inspires and motivates others
- Displays high integrity and honesty
- Solves problems and analyzes issues
- Drives for results
- Communicates powerfully and prolifically
- Collaborates and promotes teamwork
- Builds relationships
Additionally, they found the following (among others):
- Develops others
- Takes initiative
- Practices self-development
While you’re working to develop and strengthen these leadership skills in yourself, you can help others develop these skills as well. As a matter of fact, several of the skills listed above involve positive work with others (inspiring others, communication, promoting teamwork, building relationships, developing others).
Even if you are not in a management position, there are actions you can take not only to stand out and grow your leadership skills but to develop them in others as well.
Why would you want to do that?
There’s value in working with high-performance teams made of people who exhibit these qualities.
Surrounding yourself with high performers helps maintain and motivate your performance.
If you are already striving to nurture and grow those traits in yourself, recognize that one sign of a leader is nurturing growth in others, as listed above.
You’ve most likely heard the Jim Rohn quote “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Since you spend many of your waking hours with co-workers, wouldn’t you want them to be inspired and striving toward growth, too?
Creating a High-Performance Team
Many companies have leadership development programs but not everyone can be selected. Instead of simply waiting and hoping that you and your co-workers get the opportunity to participate, you can take action now, working to develop leadership skills in yourself and your teammates.
Just how do you develop leadership in those around you?
Use the strategies listed below to develop your own leadership skills while also fostering growth in your team. You’ll stand out from those who are only focused on themselves, and likely create a great team to work with.
There are some who may not be interested in developing as leaders and growing. You can’t force it. But for those who are, you can initiate and foster this growth. In doing so, you’ll be seen as a leader as well.
You don’t have to wait for someone to give you permission before you start developing great leadership skills.
Ways to Foster Growth in Others
• Motivate others to greatness.
By recognizing each person’s value and strengths, you’ll inspire them to do even greater work. In doing so, you’ll be surrounding yourself with people doing amazing work. Projects will be more successful, work will be more fun and satisfying, and you’ll have a team of resourced to pull from for collaboration and input when needed. And you’ll be known by others as an amazing leader who builds strengths in others.
• Act as a Role Model of Integrity.
Always act with integrity. Let this carry through in all your actions. Teammates will come to trust that you operate from a place of integrity and appreciate this in you. Modeling this for others can inspire the same behavior in them.
• Encourage teammates to step out of their comfort zone.
Growth happens when you do things outside of your comfort zone. When you encourage teammates to step out and try something new and challenging, you’re encouraging their growth. This helps them to continue to develop professionally. Do the same and let them know you’re seeking opportunities to on take new challenges.
• Rather than just listening if co-workers complain, encourage them to identify opportunities to make improvements.
Help them see that they can solve problems and make positive changes in the organization or team.
• Encourage teammates to take the initiative.
When you hear team members share ideas, encourage follow-through. Nudge them to step up and offer their ideas, and to even offer to lead the initiative, if possible. And seize opportunities to do the same whenever possible.
• Work with teammates to identify results and outcomes the team is working toward.
Set goals and targets. Share progress. It can even help to identify accountability partners to increase motivation to stay on track.
• Model great communication skills.
Communication skills are critical for effective leaders. Model good communication skills with your teammates. There will be opportunities to discuss challenges, disagreements, and promote ideas. You’ll have multiple chances through the course of your work together.
• Find collaboration opportunities that foster growth.
If you’re working on a deliverable or initiative that your teammate might be able to positively contribute to, while gaining new exposure, it could benefit both of you to have them help. Share information about what you’re working on to find opportunities for collaboration or contribution.
• Celebrate successes.
When your teammate successfully tackles a tough challenge or wins an award for outstanding work, congratulate her sincerely. Celebrate in a way that is appropriate for your team, whether it’s a lunch out or just acknowledging her success. This fosters a sense of support across the team. Success is not a zero-sum game. Encourage an environment of support.
Inspiring others to develop leadership skills is a win-win situation.
As a bonus, you’ll stand out from the crowd and be seen by your peers and management as a natural leader. You benefit not only yourself but the organization as a whole. That’s a lot of win-win.
Your team needs you to be the great leader you can be.
Organizations need great leaders NOW - no matter what role you're in.
Download this list of critical leadership traits and step into that leadership role that's so badly needed.