The Great Man theory of leadership is slowly, but surely being abandoned. There is some truth behind the claim that some people are “gifted” to be inspiring for others. They are great communicators. They know how to listen, and they empathize with everyone. These personal traits naturally put them in a leadership position.
But there’s something we all need to understand: you’re not born knowing how to be a leader. It’s something you learn through dedication and practice.
What are the top 5 characteristics of a leader?
- Determination and purposefulness
- Flexibility; an ability to adapt to any given situation
- Genuineness (incorruptibility)
- An ability to empower and inspire others
In 2020, these characteristics are more important than ever. The coronavirus pandemic changed the way we live, and it definitely changed the way most teams work. If you want to know how to be a leader, you’ll have to adapt your style to the given situation. That’s called flexibility, and it’s one of the pillars of successful leadership.
So how can you achieve the importnt characteristics listed above?
1. Use Your Body Language
There’s no easy way to put this: appearance is not what makes a good leader, but it’s definitely one of the factors that make a difference. We’re not talking about being attractive or fit here. We’re talking about oozing self-confidence through powerful posture and body language.
If most of your team members work remotely at this time, it’s still important for you to mind your body language. Instead of contacting them by phone or email, you’re using video conferencing tools. It’s 2020, after all.
Here are a few simple leadership tips regarding body language:
- Smile, but don’t make it fake. We have the wrong impression that powerful leaders are supposed to be serious all the time. They are not! They know when to make a joke, and they use their natural facial expressions to make a better impact. Don’t consider the smile as a sign of weakness. See it as a way to connect with your team and make them feel comfortable around you.
- Eye contact is crucial! Do not turn your eyes away when you speak to someone. That indicates lack of self-confidence, which is a no-no for a powerful leader.
- Use your hands to make gestures. They contribute towards more vivid communication. But you have to be moderate.
- Straighten up! Have you noticed how confident people walk and sit with their spine straight? When you feel sad, you curl up. If you’re wondering how to be a good leader, you should know that your posture makes a big difference. Working out and doing yoga can help you with it.
2. Create a Comfortable Working Environment for Your Team
2020 is a time of unprecedented uncertainty. Being able to motivate everyone to work remotely, and making them feel comfortable about the new situation is more important that ever. In other words, you have to give a dose of certainty and safety to your workers.
Don’t introduce new tools that they cannot use. If your workers are used to Internet Explorer and your platform doesn’t work well with that browser, it’s best to make adjustments on your side instead of forcing everyone to change their working environment. You can use Internet Explorer for Mac if you have to.
If introducing new tools for virtual communication is necessary, guide everyone through the features. Tell everyone that you know it’s hard to change their usual working methods, but you’ll help them to adjust to the situation. Have patience to answer all questions!
3. Do Not Put Your Team Under the Pressure of Time
Creating stressful working circumstances is not what makes a good leader. Yes; every leader aims for timely results. The outcome of the entire project depends on the effectiveness of each team member. You have deadlines, and you have to impose them on your team.
However, you shouldn’t turn the deadlines into a major source of stress for your employees.
If they used to work in the offices and now, due to the pandemic, they work from home, you can expect them to be slower than usual. They have kids and families, who will distract them. You don’t want to micro-manage them and make them afraid that they cannot work from home.
Let’s remind ourselves: what are the top 5 characteristics of a leader? Flexibility is an important part of the answer. You should still give time frames for each project and encourage your team to complete the tasks on time. However, you should also make the deadlines more flexible and offer support to anyone who is challenged by them. If you notice that things aren’t working out as they used to, maybe you should consider hiring an extra team member to join the remote team.
4. Stay Positive
The first half of 2020 is almost gone and we still don’t know what hit us. Businesses are failing, people are getting fired. According to a report published by LA Times, about half of small businesses are facing complete failure.
The pandemic is probably hard on your business, too. So what makes a good leader in such challenging times? You have to stay level-headed. You can prepare for the worst, but you must work towards the best outcome possible.
An upbeat, positive attitude is part of what makes a good leader. If you’re disappointed or discouraged, you mustn’t transfer that attitude to the entire team. Yes; they should know the reality. However, you must always seek solutions and convince them that you are all working towards a good outcome.
5. Benefit from the Digital Evolution
Digitizing the workplace is no longer a trend that didn’t make a huge difference on how to be a good leader. It’s officially a necessity.
This is the definite answer to the “what makes a good leader?” question: the ability to connect a team through digital tools and encourage them to work effectively with them.
At the moment, flexible remote work is what saves your business. Knowing how to implement the right tools to support the process is an important aspect of how to be a leader in 2020.
If necessary, invest in the development of an online platform that will connect all your workers. You can also rely on a tool like Asana. It will bring everyone together, give them the details of the tasks they need to complete, and give you control over the work process.
Wrapping It Up: How to Be a Good Leader in 2020
All businesses are going through a tough period. 2020 challenges your leadership skills more than ever. Let’s remind ourselves: what are the top 5 characteristics of a leader in these challenging times?
- Powerful body language that you’ll use for video conferencing
- The ability to create a comfortable working environment
- Motivating, but not pressuring the workers to complete their tasks on time
- Staying positive no matter how hard the situation is
- Using the right digital tools to connect all remote workers
Leadership is a two-way relationship. Your success is based on the connection you have with your team.
If you’d like to join an inclusive community for leaders, we have a digital group called Givitas for Leaders. Membership is free.Join Givitas for Leaders
About the Author
James Dorian is a technical copywriter. He is a tech geek who knows a lot about modern apps that will make your work more productive. James reads tons of online blogs on technology, business, and ways to become a real pro in our modern world of innovations.