Missing: Important Leadership Traits

Leadership is a concept that everyone has discussed over and over again. Discussions about what makes a “good” leader frequent every classroom and workshop across the country. The older I get, the more I wonder about leadership and a person’s ability to lead effectively. My personal curiosity caused an exploration of those forgotten leadership traits that all leaders should possess.

What comes to mind when you think of an effective and successful leader? Most answers would include organized, strong public speaking skills, ability to motivate, and approachable. Each of those is important, but what about other skills like humility, listening, and face-to-face communication?

Humility is often a skill that many successful people do not possess. It is especially difficult to lose that “rockstar” attitude and be brought back down to earth. For leaders, humility is about admitting your shortcomings as a leader (and person sometimes too) and seeing how those weaknesses effect the group. A Forbes article states “Great leaders, like great parents, will grit their teeth and accept the painful reality that they are almost always the reason something is awry in their organizations. They’ll accept the pain of being humbled and set themselves on a course of correction.” The organization as a whole will improve because a leader is willing to sacrifice his or her ego.

As a young leader, I am often talking about plans, strategies, and assignments for my account. While it is important to be an articulate speaker, listening is also extremely important. Our society has become proficient in relaying messages and persuading audiences. But, the art of listening negates all of that. Instead, it is simple, focused attention on the speaker to find out their intentions, goals, or even fears. Listeners should actively ask questions in order to fully understand what the speaker is saying. Listening skills and face-to-face communication are complimentary, lost leadership traits.

Face-to-face interaction is near obsolete in today’s technology-driven world, where people Tweet job offers and blog about their breakups. Again, technology and social media are helpful but nothing can replace face-to-face communication. Duke University’s men’s basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski believes the only way to motivate a team is through constant, face-to-face communication, where a level of trust can be established. Additionally, talking and meeting with people in person allows messages to be expressed clearly with more fluid dialogue.

What are other lost leadership traits? How should leaders better develop these skills? Let us know!

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Alex Crispino.

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