Posted by Christy Williams on March 29th, 2016
Some people are natural born leaders while others learn to become great leaders. John C. Maxwell, Steven R. Covey and countless others have become best sellers sharing the principles of effective leadership. Blogs, business journals and magazines have shared the traits in articles for years. The most common qualities of effective leaders include honesty, optimism and confidence. Other qualities are clear communication, delegation and decisiveness.
Qualities of Effective Leaders
Honesty/Integrity – Effective leaders do the right thing, even when others are not looking. They are honest and fair, treating others as they would like to be treated.
Communicative – Effective communication is a key element for successful leaders. The communication should be strong throughout an organization or relationship. Communication should flow freely between parties and be clear whether written, oral or in another form.
Delegation – Great leaders are able to recognize the strengths within their teams and capitalize on them. Through delegation, leaders are able to leverage individual strengths towards a common goal without burning themselves out.
Optimism/Positive Attitude – People are drawn to leaders who have positive attitudes because they are often more pleasant to work with. Leaders who seek out the positive attributes of their teams are able to help them overcome challenges. People who feel happy, appreciated and encouraged are more likely to go beyond the basic requirements and expectations to accomplish a goal or task.
Confidence – Confidence brings calm. Teams take their cues on action and responses directly from their leaders. If a leader is poised and confident in an adverse situation, team members are likely to respond in the same calm, confident manner. Most people are hesitant to follow others that don’t seem sure of themselves.
Decisiveness – Decisions have to be made, some harder than others. Effective leaders are decisive. They use information to make informed decisions and do not back down from making tough decisions.
Leadership Qualities in the Classroom
As a teacher, your leadership skills will constantly be on display within your classroom. In addition to your own effectiveness, you will be able to share tips with your students to become more effective leaders as they prepare to enter the work world. A primary way to instill these traits and values in your students is to require that the values be active in your classroom. Insist that your students act with honesty and integrity. Ask them to have a positive attitude as they approach their learning. Encourage them to be confident in their abilities. Emphasize clear, effective communication both with you and their peers.
Constant reinforcement of these principles will allow students to adopt the habit, thus making the traits second nature. Design your classroom activities so that students have a chance to demonstrate and strengthen their leadership skills. Presentations and group projects are strong ways to help cultivate leadership within your students.
For some people, leadership skills are innate. For others, leadership skills have to be learned. But in both cases, the skills should be regularly demonstrated for maximum effectiveness. An old saying states that “iron sharpens iron.” As a result, effective leaders are able to sharpen the leadership skills of others around them. Creating an environment that fosters leadership provides opportunities for both the instinctive and trained leaders to thrive.