Anyone can be a boss but to be a leader, it takes dedication and effort. I have found that truly inspirational leaders have several traits in common. Here are the top ten:
Lead by example
As a leader, portray all the qualities that you expect from your team by setting appropriate examples and boundaries in your own behaviour.
Leverage experience and diversity
Leverage your team’s experience and diversity in their particular job role. They are the subject specialist; they perform the tasks every day. Who better to guide you through the planning phase?
Give your team ownership
Give your team ownership over their performance. Teach them the techniques and give them the tools to implement their process improvement ideas and manage its performance.
Empower your staff
Empower your staff though training and professional development. Get them to measure their own performance and teach them how to identify the number of occurrences and cost associated with a certain problem. If they are not measuring their performance, how can they improve?
Identify personality types
Identify the personality types in your team to leverage off their individual skill sets. Put them in a job role based on their personality type and provide them with the tools and training to succeed.
Communication is the key to be an effective leader. Take the time to communicate with all stakeholders and provide constant feedback about performance and areas of focus to improve your team’s performance.
Reduce team conflict
Reduce conflict in your team effectively and constructively. Always use the win-win approach. Focus on the problem and not the people. Base your decisions on what is fair and reasonable to avoid future barriers.
Delegation and empowerment
Practice delegation and empowerment through the use of SMART goals. Motivate your team so you can delegate effectively and invest time in upskilling and education so that they have the confidence to make the right decisions through a structured process.
Blame the process
When things don’t go to plan, blame the process and not your people. Take responsibility and teach your team the art of Root Cause Analysis and how to identify and fix reoccurring problems.
Provide positive feedback and recognition. Create a culture of learning and continuous improvement. Teach your team not to just identify a problem, but to measure the costs (waste) associated and then calculate a return on investment. Give them ownership to manage the planning and implementation phase.
The strongest trait of an inspirational leader is to invest time and knowledge in your team. Guide and encourage them to become the best that they can be; work together to achieve great things; but most of all, to be inspirational you must be sincere.