10 Effective Leadership Characteristics – 8 Experts Explain How to Master Them

There are an incredible number of definitions on effective leadership characteristics. It can’t be answered in one article, but we can point you to a number of power principles that’ll have you leading with energy and influence in no time.

The truth is, every leader picks their own unique formula for success. Yet at the same time, there are keys to great leadership that can’t be disregarded.

The following factors are the most effective leadership characteristics that are crucial to the success of any team.

Be a Leader

One of the primary and most effective leadership characteristics is the ability to lead by example and influence others. Leaders are the ones who assume liability for settling on choices and bringing change.

Leaders must first be able to lead themselves, though. This means focusing on improving their own skills and ability to be the best they can be.

To lead with humility, passion and integrity. To be able to communicate and coach effectively.

Team members are the ones who pick their leader. They will judge by conduct, disposition, and activities. Success as a leader, starts with improving the one thing you have 100% control over, and that’s you. Build the leader within you first, then look to lead others.

Effective Leadership Characteristic: Live as an example to your employees

Every leader must get the best out of their team members. Orientating your team, so they know what to do and how to do it is a great step in the right direction. 

Be that as it may, here is a straightforward truth. Rather than instructing your colleagues, show them by your own actions.

Whether you believe it or not, your team follow you every single minute. They look for positive enforcement and recognition. They look for direction and assurance, too.

In other words, they’re looking to see if you mean what you say, or whether your actions are shallow and untrustworthy.

Do what you ask others to do and which you promise. Trust is an important and effective leadership characteristic. Particularly amid tough times when reasons to give up are increased. You need to be the person who faces problems with certainty and assurance.

Here’s a great video from Alex Lyon, to give you 4 steps to lead by example today:

Excel as a Leader: Make Impact

Consider the best leaders in history. What was the one thing they had in common? You’ll find that leadership isn’t simply defining objectives and successfully accomplishing them with your team members.

Great leadership changes people’s lives. This may sound an over exaggerated statement, but great leaders really do bring the best out of their people.

They lead with impact. That impact comes from the belief that I become great as a leader, if my team are great performers.

Simon Sinek provides a powerfully motivating video on how to lead with impact:

Develop the Why: Focus on Vision and not Money

An obvious contender to a top ten list of effective leadership characteristics i know, but without a vision, your efforts are good for nothing.

Vision is the tool that helps provide the torque for individuals to make a move in the right direction. Find your remarkable vision and facilitate every one of your actions towards it.

Rouse every single member of your team to that vision and encourage them to come up with ideas to get there. As Ken Blanchard identifies in his One Minute Manager, creating a vision  and agreeing how to do it is not a dictation – its something the teams create together.

Simon Sinek (I make no apologies for including him again – he’s very inspirational…) helps out with this concept below:

Accountability: Focus More on Actions and not Talking

Accountability is an effective leadership characteristic, but it’s often overlooked in the midst of day to day work.

What individuals see, influences them more than what they hear alone.

In this way, focus on actions. Try not to squander your opportunity and other individuals’ chances on unlimited discussions about plans and ideals.

Simply agree plans and goals and spend most of the time working on them, to see if they make an impact or not.

This means that actions and task completion are essential components of a high performing team.

Tod Adkins explains the 5 step method of driving accountability and ensuring actions are completed as a standard way of working in any successful team.

Effective Decision Making

We all get decisions wrong from time-to-time, but focusing on the general effectiveness of your decision making is critical to maintaining momentum.

Are most of your decisions good ones? Or are they bad?

Effective decision making is essential in business. You must be able to make the right decisions within the right time frame.

This means not to dwell on decisions too much, so as to prevent information overload and inertia, whilst also processing the right information to ensure you’re not making knee jerk decisions.

There are a few models you can follow to help you be a master of this effective leadership characteristic.

Michael Brainard helps identify the 3 biases that we all fall foul of when making decisions, and which can flaw are outcomes:

Be the Servant: Consider your Employees first in your plans

Leading means imparting information, affecting others and developing capabilities. Setting your own agenda to one side and serving your employees is one of the most effective leadership characteristics you can learn.

Often, managers tend to think that because they are in a position of influence, then they must be heard and that their final decisions count.

Caught up in this hype, some don’t even get interact much with their team members. they faily to communicate and empower, because they just don’t have the time.

Great managers know that they must lead their teams by serving first. Only once their team is engaged and aligned, then they embark on their own duties.

David Marquet demonstrates how to lead by putting your ego to one side, in the video below:

Own up: Take Responsibility for Your Mistakes

Errors are verification that you are accomplishing something. You’re on the right track. You just need to make a few adjustments.

Thomas Edison said that he never failed; he just found 1000 ways of how not to make the lightbulb.

Making mistakes is a mindset. You either get back up and learn and improve, or you fail and stay there because you believe you can’t do something.

The same is true for you as a leader. If things go wrong, rather than point the blame and try to reprimand, ask if you could have made it easier for them to do a better job. How We Lead has an interesting article showing the Dos and Don’ts of reprimanding.

Did you provide the right information?

Did you give them enough time and resource?

Did you support them enough?

In fact, in our article on the One Minute Manager, we show you how to avoid jumping to reprimanding someone, by looking at yourself, first.

Team Dynamics: Build Team Unity

The team is the most important asset to any leader. Building team unity is vital to being effective.

This is another effective leadership characteristic, because if you get it right, you’ll soon be residing over a high performing and excelling team.

Building team unity means that you need to improve communication and dynamicsto name a few, so everyone works harmoniously.

Beth Bozman shows you 3 key things to build unity in your team:

Continuously Improve: There is Always Room for Improvement

Keep in mind that growth ought to be a transient feeling. Life would wind up pointless without progressing and overcoming adversity.

This implies you ought to be appreciative for all that you have accomplished, yet at the same time keep challenging norms and progressing.

This approach will boost the effectiveness of your leadership and bring out the best from your followers. Developing a continuous improvement mindset amongst your team, is key to this and is a good place to start.

Stephen Goldberg shows us how to link continuous improvement and an effective leadership style, to get the best results from your team and business:

To Summarise

Work on building these 10 critical leadership characteristics and you’ll soon start to see trust, unity and continuous improvement being demonstrated within your teams.

These characteristics are skills that need to be developed over time, but the act of first knowing what to improve, then knowing how is half the battle won.