10 Essential Leadership Qualities to Overcome the Challenges of the Great Resignation

Whether consciously or unconsciously, employees tend to mirror the leader's reactions to changes or stress.

SMEBRNovember 25, 19:13
10 Essential Leadership Qualities to Overcome the Challenges og Resignation

Gallup research indicates that good leadership can put a halt to the Great Resignation. Here are 10 qualities that define good leaders.

Demonstrate Self-Awareness: A crucial trait of effective leadership is self-awareness. Leaders must consistently monitor their actions, words, and nonverbal cues to understand the messages they convey. Even when leaders may not be cognizant of it, team members consistently observe and emulate their behavior, basing their actions and reactions on the leader's responses.

This becomes particularly crucial during periods of change or heightened stress. During such times, employees seek guidance, both formal and informal, from their leaders on how to navigate the challenges. Whether consciously or unconsciously, employees tend to mirror the leader's reactions to changes or stress.

Establish Credibility: Research by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner underscores that credibility, synonymous with the ability to be trusted, stands as a paramount characteristic of effective leadership. Leaders cultivate credibility and earn the trust of team members through consistency in fulfilling commitments, being accountable for their words and actions, and prioritizing the needs of the team over their own.

According to Gallup, employees who lack trust in their leaders are more inclined to leave the organization compared to those in a high-trust culture, highlighting the pivotal role of credibility in leadership qualities. In instances where leaders lack credibility, team members are less likely to place their trust in them.

Focus on Relationship Building: In the early days of management research, the focus was primarily on the work itself, with studies and systems aimed at enhancing employee productivity. However, these approaches often overlooked the human aspects of employees. Modern leadership theories adopt a more comprehensive perspective, acknowledging the human elements in the workplace, particularly the employees' need to establish relationships with their team members.

Recognizing that employees bring their whole selves to organizations, not just the part that performs tasks, contemporary leaders understand the importance of excelling in relationship building across all areas of the organization.

Have a Bias for Action: Some leaders excel at articulating their vision but fall short when it comes to translating words into action. Effective leaders not only discuss necessary steps but also demonstrate a bias for action.

Leaders with a bias for action don't hesitate in times of uncertainty or when decisions must be made. They make courageous decisions, take action, and hold themselves accountable for the outcomes. In situations demanding initiative, these leaders are the ones stepping forward to take the first decisive action.

Display Humility: Humility is a term prone to misconceptions. Individuals embodying humility are not excessively proud of their achievements and work; they don't perceive themselves as superior to others. In essence, humility involves not thinking less of oneself but rather thinking of oneself less and prioritizing others.

Leaders with humility are unlikely to claim credit for work that isn't theirs. They prioritize the team's needs over their own and advocate strongly for what their team members require. By directing their focus more towards others than themselves, humble leaders earn the trust of their followers and facilitate their development and growth, often surpassing what they may have initially believed possible.

Enable and Empower the Team: A leader who empowers individuals enables them to utilize their skills and expertise, providing opportunities for development and improvement. When a leader empowers a team member, they establish guidelines and then trust them to carry out their tasks autonomously.

For example, imagine dealing with the customer service department of a store regarding an unsatisfactory purchase. If the customer service agent has the autonomy to issue a refund or provide a discount on a future purchase without needing approval from their manager, they have been given empowerment in their role.

Maintain Authenticity: Authenticity involves behaving in a manner that reflects our true selves rather than trying to emulate someone else. Leaders who embody authenticity reveal their genuine selves to their team members, establishing consistent expectations over time.

For instance, if a leader's characteristic is patience, each time they demonstrate patience to team members, they are acting authentically. The more team members witness the leader's patience, the more they will anticipate a patient response regardless of the situation. Acting authentically is also a powerful means for leaders to cultivate trust among team members.

Present Yourself as Constant and Consistent: Effective communication is crucial in a work setting; however, 18% of employers identify their manager's primary weakness as poor communication, as reported by The Predictive Index.

Leaders who maintain consistency between their words and actions eliminate uncertainty for the team, ensuring they don't have to speculate or be concerned about the leader's reactions. Similar to authenticity, leaders who communicate in a constant and consistent manner tend to become predictable over time. The team starts depending on the leader's predictability, fostering trust and alleviating stress in the workplace.

Exemplify Leadership for Followers: Leaders, whether conscious of it or not, are consistently under the scrutiny of their followers. Team members observe and emulate the leader's responses to messages or events, shaping their own reactions based on the leader's behavior.

Effective leaders acknowledge that they are being observed by the team and purposefully set an example for others to follow. For instance, if leaders consistently demonstrate support for unexpected changes, over time, team members are likely to adopt a similar approach.

Be Fully Present: Remaining fully present can pose a challenge for leaders, given the numerous directions in which they are often pulled simultaneously. Being present for team members implies that the leader is entirely attentive to what they are saying, their actions, and the work at hand. Leaders who lack presence are those who seem distracted by other matters and fail to provide team members with their undivided attention.

When leaders are fully present, they showcase the importance they place on team members. Offering their time is one of the most valuable contributions leaders can make to their team, and this is achieved by being completely engaged and present.