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The 5 Most Underrated Qualities of Good Leadership

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Companies and their employees have certain expectations of their leaders. Traditionally, being a good leader has meant providing direction to subordinates, gracefully managing deadlines through proper delegation, monitoring team performance, and ensuring key performance indicators (KPIs) are met.

Leaders who meet these expectations are assumed to be well-organized and able to direct and influence others, while also having excellent problem-solving abilities.

While these assumptions remain true today, the definition of good leadership has also evolved. Today, leaders are expected to motivate their teams, by providing a positive working environment and helping employees deal with concerns that affect their productivity.

Good leaders are always learning and growing to further develop their qualities of good leadership. But as the role of leaders has evolved in many organizations, some good leadership traits have received little attention. This blog post looks at the 5 underrated good leadership qualities that managers and other company heads should consider emulating:

1. Humor

Humor is one of the best yet underrated leadership traits that assist in positive work collaborations in various ways.

Used effectively, humor can lower employees’ guard, lift their spirits, and relax them. This makes humor a motivating factor in the workplace: when the environment is fun and light, people are more likely to be productive, engaged, and satisfied with their jobs.

Humor can also make leaders seem more approachable, which helps them gain the trust and respect of those they lead. In effect, it can help develop rapport with employees.

Humor can also be used as a tool in difficult scenarios — to diffuse tension, resolve conflict, and relieve stress. It can help leaders and employees relax, think more clearly, and make better decisions.

When used effectively, humor can have a profound impact on individuals and groups. It can bring people together, improve communication, and create a more positive and productive work environment. Leaders looking to become more effective can start by incorporating humor in people management.

2. Intuition

Intuition is the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. It is instantaneous knowing or understanding based on past experiences, personal encounters, knowledge, achievements, and failures. Hence, it assists with leaders’ swift but effective decision-making.

Having intuition helps leaders in scenarios where they cannot afford to second-guess themselves or take too much time to weigh all the options. It provides a way to cut through the noise, get to the heart of the matter, and make quick, informed decisions.

Intuitive leaders are usually more effective and successful than those who rely solely on logic and reason. That is why having intuition is a valuable resource and competitive advantage, making it one of the key qualities of good leadership.

3. Vulnerability

Good team relations spring from a leader’s relatability to people. This is where vulnerability comes in. Leaders who are open and honest about their weaknesses show that they can relate to the experiences of others.

As a leader, showing vulnerability can help you build trust. Being human, vulnerable, and real helps others feel more connected to you.

Vulnerability also means accepting accountability for yourself. A leader can be a role model for team members by admitting mistakes and accepting criticism. This demonstrates character strength and emotional maturity, which are essential leadership traits that assist with creating an emotional bond with team members.

Vulnerability is also an important ingredient for innovation. When people feel safe enough to take risks and experiment, they are more likely to come up with new ideas and solutions. For leaders to encourage innovation, they need to create an environment where people feel comfortable taking risks.

On the other hand, employees tend to leave their roles if they are unable to trust their leaders and are unable to further their careers. In addition, in this kind of atmosphere, clients are often not loyal advocates of a business. This is why being vulnerable is also one of the best qualities of good leadership.

4. Empathy

Having empathy, or the ability to recognize the needs of others, is also one of the frequently ignored and undervalued qualities of good leadership. Empathetic leaders have the capacity to understand and relate to the experiences and feelings of other people. This means considering the emotional impact of a role rather than solely from measurable indications of their achievement, such as KPIs.

Empathy also allows leaders to be more present: they can see things from different perspectives and find common ground, notice employees’ concerns, and listen without judgment. This signifies leaders’ awareness and respect for the needs of team members and their ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes.

In effect, leaders can take better measures to efficiently and effectively manage a team based on their team members’ needs and concerns. This eventually leads to improved team performance and confidence in carrying out tasks.

5. Inclusivity

People who are part of marginalized groups face additional forms of prejudice and obstacles in their professional success. Good leaders address this by tapping talents from usually overlooked groups to foster a more inclusive organizational environment.

But inclusivity goes beyond simply recruiting a varied pool of talent for the organization. An inclusive leader understands how to maximize their workforce’s skills and create an environment in which people with a variety of talents have the opportunity to thrive and grow.

Inclusive leaders also make all employees involved and make them feel that their opinions and inputs matter. They understand that employees who feel unvalued are unlikely to reach their full potential. This is why being a leader who is inclusive means welcoming the various viewpoints and experiences of a diverse talent pool.

By being more inclusive, leaders can help employees assimilate that they have the authority to take charge of their careers and bring their insights, strategies, and skills to the job — all of which can help the company’s success.

Nurturing Leadership Qualities Through Coaching

Leadership is complex and multifaceted, making it challenging to define the qualities of good leadership clearly. One thing that’s certain, however, is that acquiring skills is not all there is to being a leader; good leadership also requires a certain level of emotional intelligence. This means leadership involves having the capability to reach out and motivate employees.

These 5 underrated qualities of good leadership assist in motivating employees. Though these traits might seem unconventional, their impact on someone’s ability to become an effective leader is undeniable.

But how can leaders develop these characteristics? Through coaching.

Coaching is an effective tool for honing these qualities of good leadership. A coach can provide leaders with unbiased feedback and help them come up with ideas on how to implement positive changes. They can also assist in identifying areas for improvement, communicating their vision, and setting clear goals for themselves and their teams.

In addition, coaches can support and guide company leaders in overcoming challenges, learning new skills, and developing greater self-awareness. In effect, leaders can become the best versions of themselves and be more effective and successful in their roles.

How about you? What do you think are the most underrated qualities of good leadership? Tell us in the comment section below.
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Written By

Co-Active Training Institute (CTI)

Since 1992, CTI has been working with coaches and leaders around the world, helping them navigate toward stronger relationships, integral solutions, and creating meaningful impact in the world. The work we do goes beyond training. Through ground-breaking teaching methods and a global network of world-class faculty and partners, the Co-Active difference delivers contextually relevant and experiential learning that ignites transformation and a life-long journey developing the deepest expression of leadership in each human being.

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