Important Qualities for Practicing Leadership

By Alan Olsen

What makes a great leader? There are several answers to this question and it really depends on whom you ask. I meet with many great business leaders and while they often identify many of the same qualities of great leadership no two answers are exactly the same. It usually takes time for someone to become a great leader and once a person develops into a great leader they have to continue to practice good leadership. So what kinds of qualities does a person need in order to practice good leadership skills. Ian Tonks, the author of Replacing the Rainmaker, was a recent guest of mine and we discussed the qualities for practicing leadership skills. Ian’s book is a practical guide to business development for accountants. It offers several strategies, techniques and tools to assist accountants grow their business.

Vision and Ability

So I asked Ian his opinion on the most important quality a person can possess when they’re practicing leadership skills. Ian said that while most people would say vision is the stock answer, he has learned from his experience from running a company and from being around other successful companies that it’s actually a little left and right brain. “I think you need to have vision. The quote: “’Without vision the dreamer never wakes’ is probably a truism, but the reality is that you also have to be able to build a bridge to get there. So I think rightly this other capacity to both picture the future but also establish the roadmap to enable the team to ultimately build a bridge to get the intended destination.”

Honest Self-Assessment

Of course there are significant and important qualities that allow a person to continue to develop and grow his or her leadership skills and abilities. For example, being able to make an honest and accurate self-assessment allows leaders to keep track of their strengths and weaknesses. You should ask yourself what do you do well and what do you need to work on? Then by answering these questions honestly you can continue building on your strengths and working to improve your weaknesses. Another important quality to possess is to know your organization and being able to be responsive to your team’s needs. Effective leaders understand their team and how they work. They also know how to get the most from their team while continuing to effectively motivate them to achieve success.

Building a Strong team

Effective leaders are also aware that they need to continually build up their team by motivating them with proper goal setting and by teaching then new skills. Good leaders also continue to work on building their own skills. Effective communication is vital in these processes and it’s a skill that must constantly be worked on. Effective leaders also possess the ability to take calculated risks. Taking risks is important but you shouldn’t take risks just for the sake of taking risks. Good leaders understand when to take the right risks at the right time. Lastly, good leaders help their team understand where they are going and ensure that the team sees how they are going to get there.