Leadership qualities required in employees at all levels

In this article I am not writing about political leadership. This article pertains to work area leadership and the title clearly gives what it is. A Leader must take initiative in all areas that he comes across right from his work to getting cooperation from peers and colleagues and getting the work done by his/her team members. A leader’s primary responsibility involves accomplishing the task for which the group or organization exists.

There are different aspects which help the leader to function and influence others. The ability to influence persuade and motivate followers is based largely upon the perceived power of the leader.

Initiatives go well with leadership qualities. If you do not take initiative it is difficult to get the things done or do things. Leadership qualities and initiative must be shown right from trainees to CEO.  If you do not have the leadership qualities your career may come to a stop after you reach a certain level.

From the leadership qualities and initiatives your peers and colleagues in the organization should be able to appreciate and learn from your work and your superiors must also recognize your leadership qualities. Peers and colleagues in the organization perceive the person as having relevant expertise and believe that it exceeds their own.

A leader is admired because of certain traits like skill, expertise and knowledge in his work area. The person is said to have charisma to inspire and attract followers.

Getting the right talent and moulding those individuals into the type of leaders that the organization needs is often at best a major task. Leaders crafting strategy have access to the technical expertise and the tools they need, to calculate the benefits of a merger or restructuring, understand future trends and discontinuities and identify opportunities.

Leadership has to take place every day. It cannot be the responsibility of the few, a rare event, or a once in a life time opportunity. In our world, in our businesses, we face adaptive challenges all the time. When an executive is asked to square conflicting aspirations, he and his people face an adaptive challenge. When a manager sees a solution to a problem – technical in many respects except that it requires a change in the attitudes and habits of subordinates, he or she faces an adaptive challenge. When an employee close to the front line sees a gap between the organization’s purpose and the objectives he is asked to achieve, he or she faces both an adaptive challenge and the risks and the opportunity of leading from below.

Some leaders make the mistake of keeping all the controls of the work that their team performs with them. Groom your team members. Managers must learn to delegate work, else they can never grow. They must groom team members to function independently and take decisions on smaller pies of the whole task. Thus you can encourage people by giving them more power, and at the same time, freeing your time to take larger strategic step from the growth of your team.

It is necessary to communicate to everyone working under you about things that are going on in the company. Deciding things on your own and not bothering to inform or communicate can be de-moralizing to the team. In fact, it is nice to involve team members in the decision making process.

In our professional lives, many of us aim to lead a large team with prestigious responsibilities. For making a team productive, just being a boss is often not good enough. You have to learn to be a good leader. Only a good leader can extract the maximum from his work force and help them grow. In an office setting there are many smaller things that can easily be applied, and these are the very things that make the team members look at their boss as their leader.

Praising the team members or saying a ‘thank you’ takes very little time, but it is remembered and treasured by the receiver. Appreciating people, on tasks well done should be something the leader should make a point to follow. It keeps the team inspired and spirited. In fact, good leaders must, every once in a way socially go out with their team mates to celebrate some achievement. It keeps the team bound together. Thus a leader must be generous with praises when the job is well done.

As I have written in the beginning of this article every employee irrespective of the position must take initiative and exhibit leadership qualities. At the junior level an employee can organize his or her work in such a way that it is completed in stipulated time and is done well. At the middle management level the employee must be able to suggest to his boss a solution to the problem or how he is going about doing the task. Further at the department head level the employee can implement cost saving measures without affecting quality. Thus in an organization if the employees show leadership qualities at various positions and levels then the organisation as a whole can be a leader amongst its competitors.

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