Whether you’re a business owner, lawyer, accountant, or educator, you’re surrounded by people who look to you for leadership. The best leaders inspire others, encouraging growth and development while simultaneously holding team members accountable. The most important team-building traits of effective leaders are largely the same, whatever the business or profession.
Dealing honestly and transparently with team members is an essential trait of a good leader. Trust is critical when a group of people are trying to accomplish a shared goal. A person in a position of leadership whose behavior creates doubt about their integrity will lose the support of the team quickly. Remember that effective managers lead by example.
The concept of servant leadership emphasizes how leaders help, encourage, and develop others. Teams are not about their leaders—they’re about each other. A leader who spends time elevating themselves rather than lifting up others will find morale waning, along with productivity.
Teams can’t accomplish a goal if they don’t know what it is. Clearly communicating organizational vision and the strategies and tactics that should be used to realize it help focus teams on shared goals. A major part of effective communication is listening—team members must feel free to offer their suggestions and opinions, voice their concerns, and know that they are heard and taken seriously, even if the leader disagrees.
Among the most important team-building traits of effective leaders is the ability to build relationships, not just within the organization but also throughout the community. Everyone knows networking is important, but leaders show up not just to add to their list of contacts but to do something concrete for others. Involvement in community development and charitable activities demonstrates the civic commitment expected of effective leaders.
An effective leader makes team members feel seen, heard, and valued, regardless of hierarchy. Some people seem born with that ability, while others must be taught. Leaders can give back by participating in leadership development for young aspiring leaders. Teaching relationship skills to young people can pay off in greater future personal and professional success for young people, even those who face everyday challenges many of their peers could never imagine.
Positivity, Respect, and Appreciation
Call it what you will—catching more flies with honey, walking on the sunny side of the street, or seeing the glass as half-full— but leaders know that people want to be liked and deserve to be respected. Focus on strengths rather than highlighting weaknesses for every member of your team.
Nobody expects leaders to be best buddies with all employees, but remembering names, job titles, birthdays, and anniversaries, as well as taking a genuine interest in how employees are doing goes a long way toward building loyal and effective teams.
Recognition and appreciation are part of the equation, from awards for outstanding performance to putting on a terrific company picnic. Showing genuine gratitude for your teams’ hard work pays off in a happier, more productive workplace.