At generationYOU, we believe that you don’t have to be in an Executive position to be a leader. In fact, you can embody a leader every day, regardless of your job title or age. To give you some inspiration, we went out and ask our awesome industry legends “What are the top traits you look for in a leader?” Here’s what they had to say.
William Stubbs, Director and Co-Founder, SPUR:
A mentor once said to me that a manager is the person who checks everyone in the group has their compass and ropes and water bottles packed away in their bags – whereas a leader is the one that makes the effort to climb the tree and check that we’re all going the right way.
I think that’s true – being a leader is about action and being involved and taking responsibility for the wellbeing of whomever it is you’re leading.
But I think that analogy speaks to something more: the realisation that you are imperfect and sometimes you need to climb the tree and check that your assumption is correct. The best leaders know they’re imperfect and are okay with that.
The best leaders understand that they’re not there in that role for their own benefit, but to benefit those in the group.
Lisa Renneisen, Co-Founder, generationYOU
To me, the people who are genuine leaders are those people who take complete ownership over a task and will do what they need to do to get the job done. Their focus is on getting to the team’s desired outcome and not being the leader.
There will be times where this inevitably means taking charge of a group … but at other times leaders find find themselves taking charge from the rear and propping up others around them.
And sometimes being a leader simply means getting down and dirty with the troops in the trenches because there is a task that needs to be done and it will only get done with all hands on deck.
Leaders aren’t talkers, leaders are doers. Leaders never lose sight of the goal … because the goal is their ultimate motivation.
Petra Zink, Director & Head Coach, ImpaCCCt
Leadership starts with YOU!
If you are not able to lead yourself first, meaning knowing, owning and communicating your strengths clearly (but also being aware of your weaknesses), defining what you stand for and what sets you off, you won’t be able to build a high performing team around you that is aligned with your values.
Leaders have to tell a story that captivates their (future) team members who want to buy into that leader’s vision because this is what gets people to go above and beyond their own limits.
A good leader is quick with making decisions because s/he is confident with what is aligned and what is a distraction which also gives the team the confidence they are on the right track.
So the essence: Leadership is not a title or a status. Everyone who has the ability to influence just one person in one way or another is already a leader.
Taking care of people and developing their own skills is what good leadership is and again – this starts by knowing your own position and energy so you can then give it to others.
Nadine Zrinzo, Co-Founder, generationYOU
A great leader is one who embodies all the traits you essentially aspire to have.
No one ever gets to a point and says, OK I’m a good leader now – there is always work to be done, so the first good trait is an ability to continually learn, up skill and build on interpersonal skills like emotional intelligence.
The next important trait or value rather, is to lead by example. You should be doing all the things you want your team to be doing too, whether it’s around integrity or the ability to solve problems and get things done.
The third element is the toughest – to always pass on the praise and hold onto the blame. Whilst everyone needs to take stock of mistakes and learn from them, the buck does stop with the person leading the project or team. It’s ‘we’ when things go right and ‘me’ when things go wrong.
You can be a leader without a team too. Taking responsibility, being proactive, solving problems and leading by example are key traits of a team member too!