Being a good leader means embodying the soul and ethos of the people you lead. The most effective leaders reflect the values and principles that their team holds dear. Indeed, that can be quite a tall order, especially if you are entering the role for the first time.
Here are seven essential traits to always keep in your back pocket:
1. L is for “Look and Listen”
When you’re just stepping into a leadership position, take a moment to look around and notice your surroundings. What are the people on your team prioritizing and spending their time on? It might even help to schedule individual meetings with each person on your team. This will help you stay informed when establishing a vision for where you want your organization to be.
2. E is for “Emotional Bonding”
Respected leaders take the time to build meaningful relationships with their colleagues and team. Ask about the families of those you work with, but be careful not to inquire about anything too personal. Know your boundaries. Remember their birthdays, ask them how their day is going and schedule a lunch or all-hands company meeting to answer questions. Share personal stories from your life.Let people see you are who you really are – not as some autocrat, but someone who is relatable and of equal value.
3. A is for “Awareness”
As a leader, you must have situational awareness, which simply means being observant of your immediate surroundings. Being aware will help you obtain information critical to your success. You can enhance your understanding by conversing regularly with your colleagues through recurring meetings, reading about your organization in the news and “walking the halls” of your company to learn about what’s on people’s mind.
4. D is for “Doing”
Leaders must act. Don’t just analyze a situation, as that can result in a paralysis where no decision is made.
When you take an action, others will notice.
Listening to your colleagues and forming deep emotional bonds will give you the clarity and confidence to implement smart decisions. When you take an action, others will notice.
5. E is for “Empowerment”
Never let the power get to your head. Let other people make decisions for themselves. By trusting your team members, you enable them to grow and determine the right path. When people achieve for themselves, they will feel a sense of personal fulfillment.Many times, you can set the priority and allow your team to make the right decisions: “Let’s boost sales by 10 percent. I trust you to come up with a plan.”
6. R is for “Responsibility”
The buck stops with you as a leader. If something goes wrong, be the first to take accountability before turning the page. Never be afraid to say, “I made a mistake.” When your organization sees that you are capable of admitting fault, you will instill a more forgiving culture in which people are more honest and less afraid to fail or speak up.
7. S is for “Synchronicity”
When you lead with your soul, you radiate positive feelings. As a result, small gifts will come your way. Maybe a colleague will be inspired by your vision and go the extra mile. Or your success as a leader earns you industry-wide recognition. By planting seeds, you will see the flowering of opportunities. This is synchronicity – when unrelated good things start to happen.
Kabir Sehgal is a New York Times best-selling author. He is a former vice president at JPMorgan Chase, multi-Grammy Award winner and U.S. Navy veteran. Chopra and Sehgal are the co-creators of Home: Where Everyone Is Welcome, inspired by American immigrants.