I have been fortunate to meet some of the nicest people and I often find them at the top of the management cadre. I have also realized that nice people don’t get there by accident; they get there by design. When you are nice, warm and approachable, you become a ‘likeable’ leader and if you are ‘capable’ also; then you will make the terrific combo that no follower can resist. Some of the best leaders I have met while interacting with diverse organizations, have some common qualities and traits that set them apart from the rest.
- Great listeners
Great leaders are great listeners. Listening is a skill that you can only develop if you have utmost respect to another person. You can respect a person only if you value that person and you can find value in people only if you are humble by nature. I think humility (or modesty as Jim Collins call as the fifth level of leadership in Good to Great) is a hallmark for great leadership; because leaders exercise influence with humility and empathy. A modest leader pays attention to what their followers have to say. They have great empathy and they willingly listen without judgment and prejudices.
Leaders who are passionate about what they do, can command commitment easily from their followers. Leaders express their passion through everything they say and do. Also leaders possess infectious energy that can be easily rubbed on to their followers. They have an uncanny ability to get their team excited about goals and challenges. They have a child like enthusiasm and curiosity to approach even mundane task and turn every day work feel like ‘day one’. Great leaders fill in fresh air with their depreciating sense of humor adding to a cocktail of fun, energy and resilience to solve everyday challenges at work.
Likeable leaders are authentic. They don’t need to be charismatic. They don’t need to have the gift for gab. They just need to be real and bold enough to walk the talk. Authentic leaders are transparent in their dealings and their followers trust them easily. When there is trust in leadership everything flourishes around it. High performance and optimum results are delivered in a trusted environment. Open and free communication becomes the blood stream that powers collaboration between team members. Being authentic a nice attribute to leadership.
4. Responsible for the environment
Great leaders are not responsible for results. They are responsible for people who are responsible for results. Leaders are primarily responsible for the environment. They are responsible for the culture – the invisible air that everyone breathes in an organization. If you are manager who carries out leadership roles in an organization, your primary job is to treat people well. Its by giving good treatment, you receive great treatment from everyone.
You see, being nice has a lot of perks. Nice people get pushed up in the ladder. They get recognized and rewarded. They make great team leads and people want to follow someone who is nice, warm and approachable. Remember leadership is a voluntary response of your followers accepting you as their leader. When people choose to follow you, you become the real leader. If they are following you because they ‘have to’ follow you; they are not really following the person but the title.