Despite a large body of work on the topic of leadership in organisations, achieving a long-term, positive impact on the people and organisations we lead is not a simple undertaking.

By Anna Mieczakowski

Modern business environments constantly change as new work practices emerge from places such as the Tech City and the Silicon Valley, as well as the latest organisational research. The current leadership ‘fashion’ dictates that the leaders of tomorrow have to foresee paradigm changes in society, be quick to explore them, and be both teachers and learners at the same time.

Many psychological tests have been conducted to determine what characteristics are the most commonly noted among successful leaders. This list is long and deviates from author to author. But above everything, it is important to note that leaders are rarely (if ever) born and that all leaders are also forever learning and changing. Below I include the most commonly perceived leadership traits that I have experienced to be the most important in my work as a COO in order to build teams that trust each other and are forever motivated to deliver quality work.

  1. Integrity: Having strong moral principles and honesty are critical to the development of trust in your employees. When employees are confident that a leader adheres to a moral compass in all decisions, they will be more accepting of the leader’s decisions. Ultimately, without trust, no effective and strong relationship can be built in any circumstances.
  2. Enthusiasm: A leader needs to ooze enthusiasm, optimism and energy, and be open to change. Nothing is more infectious than the leader’s enthusiasm for the work that they do.
  3. Empathy: A leader needs to be able to “put oneself in the other person’s shoes” when determining a specific course of action. Same as with integrity, empathy is paramount to the forging of trust in your team and getting the best effort from them.
  4. Quality: Good leaders themselves produce and motivate others to produce solutions that are logical, well-researched, practical and to-the-point. Confidence that a leader can deliver quality solutions time and again can be very useful across all projects and also in situations where a new direction is proposed to convince others that the given vision is worth following.
  5. Emotional stability: This trait is not just about the ability to tolerate frustration and stress. It is important that leaders have the psychological maturity to deal with anything they are required to face, and always do it in a mature and professional ways.