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10 Powerful Traits of Awesome Leaders

Zoe Brankin
Zoe Brankin
June 13, 2022
8 min read

Awesome leaders are the key to high-performance workplace culture. They set the tone for the rest of the team, acting as motivators and inspirers. We’ve all heard the phrase “born leader”, but scientific studies show that most leadership traits aren’t hereditary. Meaning: that leadership traits can be learned and improved over time.

This offers an unrivalled opportunity for employers to upskill their leaders and transform their workforce. Let’s take a closer look at the most powerful leadership traits.

Why is good leadership important in the workplace?

Anyone involved in employee management knows that attracting and retaining talent is getting ridiculously hard, especially with The Great Resignation coming in after the pandemic. 

A massive 29% of workers were considering quitting their jobs in 2021 –– and research shows that 79% of employees cite a lack of appreciation as a reason for leaving.

Encouraging good leadership in the workplace can lead to a massive reduction in employee turnover. Leaders can inspire their teams through employee recognition, their behaviour, and communication with each other to establish a new culture of high performance in the workplace. 

10 powerful traits of awesome leaders

There are myriad ways that leaders can encourage their employees to go above and beyond in the workplace. 

Disruptive leaders change how employees think, act, and feel to move the company forward. These game-changing leaders often possess the following traits:

1. Communication skills

You can’t be a good leader without possessing good communication skills. 

While you can learn effective communication strategies, the best and most disruptive leaders are inherently good communicators. 

Communication isn’t just about speaking and giving orders –– it’s also about listening. It’s about understanding how to communicate with a wide range of people across roles, geographies, and social identities, both inside and outside the organisation. 

2. Integrity

Yes, you want to see integrity in employees across the board, but it’s also an essential trait for leaders. It’s hard to quantify, but when someone has integrity, you can’t miss it. In the workplace, integrity in leaders is about recognising employee accomplishments, admitting mistakes, and prioritising quality work. 

Emphasise the importance of honesty and loyalty for your employees while hiring and training managers at all levels. Encourage a workplace community where integrity is celebrated and highlighted along with more measurable career wins. 

3. Self-managing 

It will be difficult to manage others if you can’t effectively manage yourself. Self-management is about prioritising your goals and being responsible for achieving them. As an effective leader, you also need to regulate your time, attention and emotions. 

Exceptional leaders can handle stress and balance their work and personal lives but also understand the importance of compassion and responding to their team appropriately. 

4. Genuine enthusiasm

No one wants to be led by someone who doesn’t care about their actions. Influential leaders have a genuine enthusiasm for the organisation and what they’re working towards as a team. 

Employees can sniff out fake enthusiasm from a mile away, but a leader’s energy that is sincerely enthusiastic and passionate is genuinely contagious. 

5. Self-awareness

Having a good level of self-awareness is a trait found in most powerful leaders. It’s about knowing yourself and being able to recognise your flaws. How can you lead others if you don’t first understand your inner workings? No one is great at absolutely everything. It takes a self-aware leader to know their strengths and weaknesses and to ask for help in the areas where others can shine. 

Good leaders know how their direct reports and higher-ups perceive them and can use this knowledge to shape their daily interactions in the workplace.  

6. Ability to be vulnerable

Admitting mistakes is hard, especially for leaders in a corporate setting who are always expected to be switched on, but it’s a key trait for a powerful leader. 

When a leader says to their team that they have screwed up, they are cultivating an environment of trust that makes it okay for others to be honest, try new things and learn from what happened together as a team.

7. Knowing how and when to delegate 

How can you be a good leader if you’re doing too many things at once? This is where knowing how and when to delegate comes into play. No matter how much you want to, it’s impossible to be able to do everything you need to do by yourself. 

Delegating out tasks to your team does more than just take some of the weight off your shoulders. It shows that you are confident in your team’s ability to do the job for you. This results in higher morale and loyalty and makes your employees feel trusted and appreciated. 

8. Empowerment

A good leader knows their power. They know they can train and shape the employees under them and inspire them to do their best work. 

The best leaders are a source of empowerment for their team. When employees are empowered, they are more likely to make decisions that are in the company’s best interest. A good leader doesn’t just congratulate a team on a good job once it’s done –– they empower them from the beginning to deliver results. 

9. Charisma

It’s just a fact of human life that we’re going to be drawn to people we like. The best leaders are charismatic. They exude goodwill and are friendly and approachable. You simply can’t have a leader that no one in the team is comfortable talking with. 

But charisma isn’t just how someone presents themselves. In a business setting, it’s about showing creativity and direction and being willing to think outside the box even when not explicitly asked to. This aspect of charisma will inspire and empower employees to do the same. 

10. Gratitude

Everyone wants to work for a boss who appreciates them and their work. This isn’t just in the form of bonuses and tangible rewards. Employees also want social recognition– whether it’s a quick thank-you in the hallway, a callout during a meeting, or over Slack. 

Don’t underestimate the power of social recognition

Companies with a strong culture of recognition can achieve a 55% improvement in engagement across the board. The best leaders know how to demonstrate sincere gratitude in the workplace, which can significantly impact an organisation’s bottom line. 

You know what makes a great leader, so what’s next? 

Now that you understand what it takes to be a great leader, you’re one step closer to becoming one. Leadership traits are learnable, you just need to practice consistently. 

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The importance of social recognition

Introducing a culture of social recognition into the workplace isn’t just about making your employees feel good – it can have lasting impacts on a business. Let’s take a look at the benefits of social recognition. 

Increased employee engagement

It’s no secret that there is a powerful connection between employee recognition and engagement, and lack of recognition is one of the main reasons why employees are disengaged. Employee engagement is vital if you want to increase productivity, innovation and retention, and social recognition will help you amplify that recognition message. 

Did you know that 92% of workers are more likely to repeat a specific action after receiving recognition for it? It shows that social recognition reinforces good work habits.

It’s beneficial for the brand, too. Strong engagement directly impacts business – a Forbes report found that teams who score in the top 20% in engagement have a 41% reduction in absenteeism and 59% less turnover.

This brings us to our next point…

Lower turnover of staff

According to Gallup, the number one reason most people leave their jobs is a lack of recognition. 

It’s pretty simple. If you like your job and feel rewarded fairly for doing it, you will stick around. As a business, it’s essential to ensure your staff know just how valued they are. Lack of recognition and engagement contributes to 44% of employee turnover. 

Higher productivity

It’s a flow-on effect. More recognition in the workplace leads to happier and more engaged employees, which ultimately leads to more productive workers. 

Employees who regularly receive recognition for their work consistently display increased productivity. 

Improved employee satisfaction

The end goal of social recognition is improved employee satisfaction. It is essential to have a team that is happy with their work, the company, and their co-workers. Without that, you simply can’t get ahead as a business. Employee recognition is the not-so-secret secret to improved employee satisfaction.

Decreased absence of staff

Not to keep repeating ourselves, but recognition makes staff happierIt boosts employee satisfaction by validating their daily life. When employees enjoy coming to work, managers see them taking fewer sick days and long lunches. A Gallup study of over two million workers found that businesses with engaged teams saw 81% less absenteeism

The bottom line? Social recognition should be a top priority for your workplace.

How to practice social recognition

You’ve seen the benefits. Now it’s time to put it into practice. 

Provide it frequently

Put your people at the heart of your business. Just ask the employees at The Grand Brighton Hotel. Social recognition isn’t just a one-and-done practice — to be effective, you must perform it regularly and on an ongoing basis. 

Ongoing social recognition makes workers feel valued as team members rather than receiving once-off praise, which can sometimes fall flat. 

Encourage peer-to-peer recognition

Receiving praise from a manager is important to employees for many reasons. It sets the foundation for their experience at the company, fostering a sense of mentorship. But peer-to-peer recognition goes one step further. By creating a positive work culture, your team will thrive even if you take your eye off the ball. Mo’s employee recognition software can be automised to give managers breathing space, encouraging employees to support each other through Moments and rewards.

Provide it in real-time

Don’t wait. If an employee does a stellar job or goes above and beyond, they should be recognised for it instantly. As we shared above, over 90% of employees say that when they’re recognised for a specific action, they’re more likely to do it again in the future. 

Strike while the iron is hot, and encourage your team to strive to do their best constantly. 

Encourage leaders to be better

Leaders are the ones who make a company. For a company to thrive, you need disruptive leadership. Leaders need to be constantly looking for better solutions, and ways to establish new processes and make an impact on the business as a whole. 

Invest in employee recognition software

Implementing effective recognition practices in the workplace can be a huge undertaking, especially for large companies. Where do you even start?

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Mo is an employee recognition and engagement platform that can help leaders improve collaboration and morale, reduce employee churn and drive change. 

Our platform creates a vibrant culture by developing team habits, encouraging people to celebrate success, recognise results and appreciate colleagues. Your complete toolkit for connecting and motivating teams in the new world of work. Book a demo with our team today.

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