Becoming a successful leader

If you have these work traits and skills, you have the potential of being a great boss and successful leader:

  • Vision:
    The ability to establish a vision that integrates goals, priorities, values and other factors of the organisation. This includes the ability to manage change while maintaining and striving to improve customer service and programme performance; to create a work environment that encourages creative thinking; and to maintain focus, intensity and persistence, even under adversity.
  • People Skills:
    The ability to design and implement strategies that maximise employee potential and foster high ethical standards in meeting the organisation’s vision, mission and goals.
  • Commitment:
    The ability to focus on hard work, accountability and continuous improvement.
  • Business Acumen:
    The ability to acquire and administer human, financial, material and information resources in a manner that instils trust and accomplishes the organisation’s mission, and to use new technology to enhance decision making.
  • Build Coalitions/Communication:
    The ability to explain, advocate and express facts and ideas in a convincing manner and negotiate with individuals and groups internally and externally. It also involves the ability to develop an expansive professional network with other organisations and to identify the internal and external politics that affect the work of the organisation.
  • Becoming a Great Boss:
    Leaders have good people skills, but a ‘good boss’ has skills that go far beyond. Besides common courtesy, listening skills, and excellent communication, the good boss understands and empathises with people from all backgrounds, all races, both genders, and all ages. The good boss is never ‘too good’ to associate with employees a demonstrate the ‘common touch’. The good boss never refuses to communicate, no matter how minor the role a person may play in the organisation. The good boss maintains eye contact, praises good performance, shows a sense of humour and participates in activities.
  • Commitment:
    While leaders often give career goals top priority, a good boss puts the organisation and employees first, before his or her own needs and career goals. The good boss feels a strong commitment to those who work for him or her and hesitates to leave the organisation for that reason. The good boss’s personal drive may be sacrificed for the organisation or its employees.
  • Knowledge:
    While a leader knows the organisation, a good boss makes decisions with the knowledge of what is best for the employees as well as for the organisation. The good boss understands that employees are the key to success and never ignores or undervalues them. The good boss plans goals, ways to achieve them, and backup plans with the good of employees in mind.

The good boss promotes opportunities for employees to increase their knowledge and improve their abilities. The good boss acknowledges that he or she is not the only ‘sage on the stage’, that others have valuable opinions and suggestions too. The good boss creates a team committed to the good of the organisation and its members.

As you extend your leadership abilities, don’t forget those that make a truly successful leader — and a good boss.

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