Management and leadership are not synonymous. Managing relates to dealing with moving parts, and leadership relates to moving those parts in the right direction. A truly successful leader can bring a group of diverse people together and motivate them to move as one towards a common goal.

Without the proper skills, a leader or manager will be that in name only. Inspirational speaker and business advisor, Robin S. Sharma, said, “Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence, and inspiration. Impact involves getting results; influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire team-mates and customers.” Below are a few of the most important characteristics every effective team leader must strive to have:

1. Confidence

Leaders who are confident produce confident teams. Workers need to have a confident (but not cocky) leader. If all else fails, like the saying goes, “Fake it until you make it.” Acting confident long enough can often help create the real thing.

2. Organization

Lack of organization is a costly mistake for any business. It is one of the easiest ways to lose sales, perform over budget, and lose valuable staff – among other various problems. Be sure to have a system in place for keeping all things organized, from email to daily to-do lists. Never just “wing it” or leave things to chance.  

3. Respect

Treat every team member with dignity and respect. Workers who feel valued and respected will be more likely to treat you in the same manner, as opposed to harboring feelings of resentment or anger for being disrespected.

4. Decisiveness

Leaders must be able to make decisions promptly, even in difficult situations. “No decision is still a decision,” and procrastination is not a useful leadership tool.  

First of all, know how to prioritize decisions. What needs to be decided now and what can wait? Also, do you have all the information available? While making tough decisions will not always be popular, your team will appreciate your decisiveness. Your team needs to feel confident that you will lead the way, no matter what the situation. Where no decision is made, there will also be no true progress.

5. Problem-Solving Skills

Being decisive and being a problem-solver are two different things. It is vital for successful leaders to impartially and calmly analyze problems and facilitate a resolution or process to address it – from employee conflict resolution to business growth issues. Compassionately, empathetically, and impartially negotiating is part of the process of resolving a conflict. Speak less, listen more, and ask open-ended questions to come to a successful resolution.

6. Influential

Being influential has more to do with human psychology than actual power or force. Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People said, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” Your goal should be to come across as approachable and knowledgeable with the intention of convincing them to willingly take your suggestions and advice. A few simple ways to accomplish this are to remember your team members’ names and use them, as well as to show a genuine interest in them.

7. Delegation

You must be willing to do admit that you cannot do everything yourself and know how to delegate appropriately. Do not become a micromanager. However, you must first know your team members well enough to know their abilities and to whom a task can be delegated. Break a larger task up into smaller ones to avoid overloading one specific employee.

8. Communication

Effective communication involves more than merely listing step-by-step instructions or reciting a speech. It is ensuring someone fully understands how or why something is done, while still leaving room for independent thought.

A few things to keep in mind regarding effective communication:

    • Based on team members’ education level or personalities, be able to communicate ideas or instructions via different media formats
    • Avoid unprofessional language and jargon
  • Do not forget the importance of body language and facial cues

9.  Setting Goals

It is essential to create goals for you and your team if you want to see progress and keep your team motivated. Make sure the goals are attainable, reasonable, prioritized, and well-thought out. Most importantly, reward your team for achieving those goals.

10. Positivity

Nothing can kill team spirit or hard work faster than a leader’s constant negativity. Just as negativity is contagious, so is positivity. Your workers will feed off the energy you display. Happy workers are more productive workers.