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General Leadership

The Key to Success in Leadership: 3 Traits You Need

Successfully developed leadership abilities can significantly impact the growth and success of organizations and individuals in various positions. Possessing the appropriate traits can enable leaders to inspire and maintain strong teams, drive increased productivity and profits, and establish a positive work environment. Here are three crucial traits that can elevate your leadership skills and contribute to overall success in your professional journey:

Trait 1: Integrity – The Building Block of Trust And Accountability

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Photo by Google DeepMind

Integrity is the foundation of effective leadership. It is the quality that brings trust and accountability to relationships and establishes a strong framework for success. Without integrity, a leader cannot build trust or maintain credibility.

Integrity means doing what you say you will do and aligning your words with your actions. It is about being honest, transparent, and reliable. When a leader possesses integrity, their team and peers can have confidence in their integrity and motives.

In the grand scheme of things, wealth can be rebuilt and health can often be recaptured, but the loss of character is an infinitely more significant loss. Character is what defines a leader and builds trust among their peers, subordinates, and supervisors.

The word character has its roots in a Greek word meaning “to stamp or engrave.” Through repeated action over time, a leader stamps habits into their life, engraving their life with a pattern of thinking and behaving that reflects their character.

When someone consistently follows through on their commitments, they can be trusted. They are reliable and can be counted on when the chips are down. This level of dependability is a core aspect of a leader’s character.

Developing character involves several key elements. Firstly, leaders must be clear about what they believe and what they stand for. They must be able to articulate their core beliefs and values with exceptional clarity.

Secondly, leaders must be intentional in using their values and beliefs to guide their actions and responses to events. They must be purposeful and focused, rather than impulsive and reactive.

Leaders must also be accountable and have someone in their life who will hold them accountable and tell them the truth in love. Before a leader can hold others accountable, they must start with themselves.

In addition, leaders must be great followers. They must understand the lessons that come from following and be able to lead by example. Humility is also crucial, as leaders must place others at the center of attention, accept blame on behalf of the team, and deflect praise back to the team.

Lastly, leaders must be the example they want others to follow. They must lead by direction and purpose and ensure that their actions align with their words. It is not enough to expect others to “get it” without providing clear leadership.

Integrity is the cornerstone of building trust in leadership. It is a competency that leaders must master if they want to be successful. By doing what they say they will do, aligning words with actions, and consistently following through on commitments, leaders can establish themselves as individuals of high character. Character is fundamental to finding both success and happiness in leadership and is the key to building trust and accountability.

Trait 2: Authentic Communication – The Path To Connection And Influence

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Photo by Quino Al

Authentic communication is the second crucial trait for successful leadership. Effective communication can bridge gaps between leaders and their teams as well as build trust and rapport within the organization. According to a study, 56% of participants identified “communicating clear expectations” as one of the most important leadership competencies. [2] This is supported by research by the American Management Association, which states that managers spend at least 24% of their time managing conflict. [1]

However, communication is not just about verbal abilities; it also encompasses active listening and empathetic understanding. Robyn Short cited a study that found that 60% of U.S. employees have not received any conflict management skills training. [1] Therefore, fostering authentic communication is not a luxury for leaders, but rather, a necessity for team and organizational success.

Having an open line of communication with your team lies at the heart of effective leadership. It not only facilitates the flow of ideas but also helps to address issues proactively before they escalate. Moreover, in the ever-changing business landscape, leaders need to communicate with clarity and respond to changes efficiently. Developing strong communication skills requires self-awareness, empathy, and active listening.

Being self-aware is essential for leaders, as it enables them to understand their strengths and weaknesses and adjust their communication accordingly. By understanding their own limitations, leaders can create a versatile communication strategy that caters to the needs of their diverse team members.

Empathy, on the other hand, is crucial for understanding the emotions and perspectives of team members. Inclusive and authentic communication should involve conveying appreciation and support for individual contributions. According to the study by Westminster College, boosting morale is the top motivational technique that employees prefer. When managers appreciate their employees’ contribution, their engagement increases by 60%. [1]

Active listening is another skill that leaders must acquire to foster authentic communication. Engaging with employees and making them feel heard, supported, and understood is key to forging strong relationships. Moreover, attentive listening allows leaders to comprehend the root causes of any issues and identify opportunities for improvement.

The digital age has introduced new challenges for leaders, particularly when it comes to remote work. Virtual communication often lacks the same emotional cues found in face-to-face interactions, which may lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Being an excellent communicator is essential for leaders, regardless of whether they are interacting with their team in-person or via digital platforms.

Additionally, strong communication skills enable leaders to influence others effectively. Influence is a vital leadership trait, as it allows leaders to inspire and guide their team towards a common goal. By building strong connections and trust, leaders can instill confidence in their team and motivate them to reach higher levels of performance.

Authentic communication is a vital skill for leaders, helping them navigate conflicts, inspire teams, and foster strong connections within the organization. By being self-aware, empathetic, and attentive to their team’s needs, leaders can master effective communication and elevate their leadership ability.

Trait 3: Effective Delegation And Empowering Others

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Photo by Ryan Chia

Every successful leader knows that empowering their team is vital for boosting morale, increasing employee engagement, and improving productivity. Effective delegation and empowerment not only benefit individual team members but also the organization as a whole.

Delegating tasks and empowering others is crucial for several reasons. First, it frees up a leader’s time to focus on more pressing matters and strategic decisions. According to the American Management Association, managers spend at least 24% of their time managing conflict. By delegating responsibilities, leaders can reduce this time-consuming activity and focus on higher-level tasks that drive the success of the organization.

Second, delegation and empowerment contribute to the professional growth of team members. Employees who feel supported and trusted by their leaders are more likely to take on new challenges and develop new skills. The Gallup meta-analysis of employee engagement shows that business units with good employee engagement have 41% fewer quality defects, 81% less absenteeism, and a 18% increase in productivity. [3]

Third, effective delegation fosters a sense of appreciation and recognition among employees. In a study by Interact on 10,000 workers in the US, the number one complaint (63%) from employees concerning their managers was a lack of appreciation. Conversely, when managers appreciate their team’s contributions, employee engagement increases by 60%. [1] A positive work environment is created when leaders recognize and acknowledge the value that team members bring to the table.

Empowering others also involves providing employees with the necessary tools and resources to excel in their roles. So, how can leaders improve their delegation and empowerment skills? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Trust your team

Believe in your team members’ abilities and capabilities. Trust that they can complete tasks successfully and allow them to take ownership of their work.

2. Communicate expectations clearly

Clearly outline the deliverables, deadlines, and any specific requirements for each task. This ensures that your team members understand what is expected of them.

3. Provide necessary resources and support

Ensure that your team has access to the tools, knowledge, and support they need to complete tasks effectively.

4. Encourage feedback and open communication

Foster an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and progress updates. This facilitates ongoing collaboration and continuous improvement.

5. Recognize and reward success

Acknowledge your team members’ hard work and achievements. Celebrate their accomplishments and show appreciation for their contributions.

Effective delegation and empowerment are essential traits for successful leadership. By believing in their team members and providing the necessary resources and support, leaders can foster a productive, engaged, and satisfied workforce. These traits contribute to the overall success of the organization and promote a culture of trust, collaboration, and growth.

In the dynamic landscape of today’s professional world, effective leadership is more important than ever before. The impact of strong leaders can be seen in the growth and prosperity of their organizations, as well as the satisfaction and success of their team members. By focusing on the development of these three pivotal traits – integrity, authentic communication, and effective delegation and empowerment – leaders can unlock their true potential and drive lasting positive change within their teams and organizations.

Embodying integrity establishes trust and accountability, cementing the foundation for a thriving work environment. Fostering authentic communication allows leaders to connect with their team, resolve conflicts, and influence others towards a common goal. Finally, delegation and empowerment enable leaders to maximize productivity and cultivate a sense of appreciation, recognition, and growth among team members.

Leaders who intentionally hone these crucial skills will not only enhance their own professional journey but will also play a vital role in shaping the success of their organizations and the people they lead. By investing in the growth of these essential leadership traits, individuals from all walks of life can unlock the key to sustainable success and fulfillment in their roles as influential and inspiring leaders.


[1] The 8 Key Leadership Skills You need to know in 2023
[2] The Most Important Leadership Competencies, According to …
[3] What Is Employee Engagement and How Do You Improve It?

Max Johnson

Max Johnson is currently a Vice President at a Fortunate 100 company. He has also held multiple leadership positions at two startups previously. When he is not busy working, you can find him surfing at the beach or skiing in the mountains.

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