Got Leadership DNA? Discover 7 Characteristics Of A Good Leader

7 Characteristics Of A Good Leader featured article image by soco sales training

In the dynamic and competitive world of sales, the role of a leader is paramount in driving teams toward success. Their ability to inspire, motivate, and guide individuals is the defining factor between average performance and outstanding results. Are you an aspiring or seasoned leader looking to improve your skillset and performance? Explore seven essential characteristics that define a good leader below. By assessing your strengths against these traits, you’ll gain valuable insights into your sales leadership capabilities and identify areas for further development. So, how many characteristics of a good leader do you have? Let’s find out!

What is Leadership?

Leadership refers to the ability of an individual to inspire, guide, and influence others toward achieving a common goal or objective. 

It’s a skill that involves guiding, coaching, and supporting teams and individuals to ensure they complete goals effectively.

It involves taking charge, making decisions, and providing direction to a group of people or an organization. Leadership is not limited to formal positions of authority but can be demonstrated at various levels and contexts, such as in business, politics, sports, or community settings.

Leadership Vs Management: What’s the Difference?

While “leadership” and “management” are often seen as interchangeable terms, they’re not the same. Let’s explore their differences: 

Management refers to the process of ensuring all team members and departments are on the same page when it comes to goals, products, strategies, and motivation. The role involves setting objectives, allocating resources, supervising employees, and ensuring efficient operations.

Leadership, in comparison, is the process of guiding the team toward a vision and helping to create the momentum needed to achieve it. The role involves providing direction, motivating others, fostering innovation, and promoting positive change.

What Makes a Good Leader?

First and foremost, an essential requirement for any leader is to possess self-confidence. After all, if you want to be a leader, you have to be prepared to lead! However, it’s a lot more complex than that.

As a leader, you are responsible for deciding when to listen and when to make decisions. This means when you follow through with decisions, you have to own them; if they don’t work, you need to admit you were wrong.

In this case, a true leader will accept that we all make mistakes.

Ultimately, nobody is perfect, and a good leader understands that you need to keep moving forward, be resilient, and trust that things will get better as a team. However, there are some characteristics of a good leader you should know if you want to adjust your own approach.

Explore them below; how many can you identify in yourself or others?

7 Characteristics of a Good Leader

Think you’re a good or even great leader? Discover the 7 characteristics of a good leader and use them to develop your leadership skills:

1. Inspires others

The most notable hallmark of a good leader is inspiring the people they lead, particularly by uncovering opportunities in challenges and pushing their team to reach new heights.

But good leaders don’t just tell employees they are deeply committed to this approach.

Instead, they physically demonstrate their commitment in every meeting, presentation, and customer interaction by embracing vulnerability and the possibility of failure. 

2. Earns trust

How can you begin to inspire employees? It all starts with trust.

Good leaders understand that having an abundance of empathy is critical to earning trust. More so, they know that it’s the key to understanding their employees’ problems so that they can help to overcome them.

Furthermore, empathy isn’t just about understanding how people feel. It can help you make better predictions, improve strategies, and increase creativity amongst your team while inspiring loyalty.

3. Fosters a team environment

How do you receive the best performance from your employees? First, you foster a good team environment that can ultimately build a productive and self-sufficient momentum. But how?

Good leaders know that all teams, much like families, have values and their own unique cultures. The trick is to understand how they work as people and stick to the shared values the team has agreed upon – so that everyone feels they have a place in the group.

4. Sets a good example

Leading by example is a necessary process to influence the future behavior and attitudes of employees. Why? Because leading by example helps other people see what lies ahead and will help develop their skills and ability to deal with challenges along the way.

5. Sets and communicates clear goals

Although busy, good leaders never cut corners on communication. They understand the value of not being misunderstood, especially when time is a critical factor. More so, by possessing excellent communication skills, good leaders avoid hurting feelings, projects, or team relations.

Therefore, a good leader sets and communicates clear goals by dedicating the right amount of time to share these.

6. Listens to others

Good leaders that operate an open-door policy are constantly on the pulse of their teams’ success and challenges. They value any feedback and encourage this to ensure that they reach their common goal collectively. More so, by actively listening to their team, good leaders find the story behind the message. In other words – the opportunity beyond the issue.

7. Recognises achievements

Feedback shouldn’t just occur when providing criticism. Instead, To foster a great team environment, you need to show appreciation and gratitude for your team’s commitment to success. Why? Because nothing ruins your team’s commitment more than when their efforts are unnoticed by leadership. Therefore, good leaders know that it only takes a “thank you” to inspire and foster a close-knit team environment.

What’s the Difference Between a Good and Bad Leader?

Frankly, the bad leader is the boss that you dread working for every day. Good leadership is all about action and proactively developing your team to ensure they hit those targets.

In comparison, bad leaders prefer to take full credit for their teams’ hard work and only appear to blame people for mistakes without constructive criticism. Essentially, the bad sales leader is self-centric and refuses to uplift their employees.

Good Vs Bad Sales Managers, 11 Must-Have Qualities of A Great Sales Manager

7 Characteristics Of A Bad Leader

Studying the characteristics of bad leaders allows you to identify their shortcomings and their negative impact on individuals and organizations.

By understanding what makes a leader ineffective, you can learn from their mistakes and avoid replicating those behaviors in your leadership style.

Check them out:

1. Instills fear

Have you ever heard of a leader proudly exclaiming that they use fear to manage and lead their team? Of course, not! But bad leaders are notorious for using this misleading tactic. Consequently, they find that teamwork becomes less collaborative and, therefore, less productive.

2. Demands respect

One of the biggest pitfalls of a bad leader is that they often demand respect rather than earning it. The result? They don’t cultivate any commitment or respect amongst their employees, which causes engagement to drop and job vacancies to rise.

3. Pits employees against each other

A bad leader often pits employees against each other as a motivational tactic. Not only is this morally wrong, but it’s a sure way to drive incredible employees away because of increasing resentment and a sour work environment.

4. Says one thing but does another

In the same fashion, bad leaders often say one thing – but then do something completely different. Not only is this confusing for employees, but this type of miscommunication will cause delays and mistakes.

5. Is vague about desired outcomes

Leaders are essential to an organization’s success, so we always set out clear goals and outcomes for employees to follow. Unfortunately, bad leaders fail to do this, possibly because they’re unsure of their vision or even the team’s collective mission. In turn, this causes wide-set confusion, low productivity, and disgruntled employees.

6. Thinks they know everything

Leaders are essential to an organization’s success, so we always set out clear goals and outcomes for employees to follow. Unfortunately, bad leaders fail to do this, possibly because they’re unsure of their vision or even the team’s collective mission. In turn, this causes wide-set confusion, low productivity, and disgruntled employees.

7. Rubs in mistakes

Lastly, bad sales leaders prefer to constantly remind their team of their mistakes when instead, they should be coaching them through how to avoid them in the future. In comparison, good leaders practice the art of praise in public, correct in private

How to Develop the Characteristics of a Good Leader

Now you know the characteristics of a good leader, it’s time to turn the focus to your own leadership abilities.

However, be warned developing your leadership skills requires a combination of self-reflection, continuous learning, and practical experience.

So if you’re ready to take things to the next level, here are some effective strategies you can use to enhance your leadership abilities:

  1. Seek mentorship: Find experienced sales leaders who can serve as mentors and provide guidance. Their insights and expertise can help you navigate challenges and develop effective strategies.
  2.  Invest in professional development: Attend sales training, use online sales training platforms, selling workshops, and seminars to stay updated on industry trends and learn new techniques. Look for programs specifically designed to enhance leadership skills in the sales context.
  3.  Read relevant literature: Expand your knowledge by reading books, articles, and blogs about sales leadership and management. Learn from renowned experts and gain different perspectives on effective leadership strategies.
  4.  Learn from successful leaders: Study the approaches, techniques, and leadership styles of successful sales leaders. Observe how they motivate their teams, handle objections, and build strong customer relationships. Incorporate their best practices into your own style.
  5.  Focus on developing emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence is crucial in sales leadership. Understand and manage your own emotions and empathize with the emotions of your team members and clients. This skill helps build trust, resolve conflicts, and inspire loyalty.
  6.  Embrace failure: Use failures as opportunities for growth and learning. Analyze what went wrong, identify areas for improvement, and adapt your approach accordingly. (It might also go without saying you should encourage your team to do the same if you want to foster a culture of resilience and innovation.)
  7.  Continuously evaluate and adapt: Regularly assess your leadership style and its impact on your team’s performance. Be open to feedback and adjust your strategies as needed. Embrace a growth mindset and strive for ongoing improvement.

Remember, developing leadership skills is a lifelong journey. 

You’ll be more likely to succeed if you stay committed to self-improvement, adapt to changing circumstances, and remain open to learning from successes and failures. 

What’s the Difference Between a Good, and a Great leader?

Sure, it’s perfectly acceptable to have the characteristics of a good leader, but fostering the characteristics of a great leader is even better. 

Mostly because great leaders possess an objective perspective and can skillfully balance foresight, performance, and character.

So if you’re a good leader but you’re ready to expand your skill set, check out what attributes you need to focus on developing next: 

1. Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence (also known as EQ or EI) is the capacity to recognize your emotions, understand what they’re telling you, and how they can affect others. Furthermore, EI is the ability to understand and manage others’ feelings. So to be a great leader, it’s imperative to know that the individuals on your team have different personalities, needs, and desires. More so, you know that everyone has their way of showing their emotions and can use this knowledge to create and direct positive outcomes for you and your team.

2. Innovative thinking

Good leaders have an excellent understanding of traditional business thinking, but great leaders possess the power of innovative thinking. 

Leaders who focus on innovative thinking bring new ideas and energy to their role, seamlessly paving the way for the organization – and its mission. Why? Because great leaders are finished building and are ready to take their team to the next level with a courageous desire to change, create and inspire those in their industry. Therefore not only are great leaders visionaries who bring ideas to life – but they also motivate others to fulfill them.

3. Appreciation for criticism

Good leaders can accept criticism, but great leaders welcome feedback and advice. They view criticism as a natural part of leadership and a resource to develop rather than a threat. More so, they understand that the bigger the organization is, the more criticism they’ll receive. So they intercept this early by fostering a solid perspective and mindset that won’t deter them from reaching their goals.

4. Laser-focused on turning weaknesses into strengths

Great leaders don’t just find solutions to their employee’s weaknesses. Instead, they recognize the major warning signs and act quickly to develop and strengthen them. Smart considering that 40% of employees who don’t receive adequate training end up leaving their post within a year. So it’s fair to say that you have to be ahead of your team’s training needs to retain the best talent and be a great supportive leader.

5. Style Flexing Mastery

Your job as a sales professional is to help your prospect feel as comfortable as possible by communicating with them in a manner unique to their personality. Here at SOCO/, we like to call Style Flexing. 

It’s known that people like people like them. They’re comfortable with people who are like themselves. However, please make no mistake; this isn’t simply a case of mirroring their gestures, parroting, or paraphrasing. Instead, you want to adopt characteristics unique to their communication style.

If you want to lead all four communication styles successfully – Supportive, Open, Closed, and Organized – you need to style Flex. Then, adapt your style to suit that of your employees. That will help you to build rapport, trust and foster a great team environment where everyone is supported. 

Also read:

Final Word: Hone Management Skills; Build High-Performance Sales Teams

A high performing team is highly motivated. They take on challenges with an eagerness to exceed expectations, and they don’t blindly follow orders; they look to improve upon them.

Leading a team to new heights takes understanding your team’s unique strengths, how to navigate uncharted territory and how to inspire them to reach their maximum potential. It takes a talented leader to do that.

Join the Management Mastery course, where we cover the essential management skills every leader needs to bring out the best of their team, whether they’re working in the office, at home, or in a blended environment.

Management Mastery Booklet

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