Three Effective Leadership Characteristics For a Positive Culture

By Ellie Walburg on July 2, 2019

Author's Note: This post was written by guest contributor, Jason Wesley, adjunct faculty member for Cornerstone University's Professional & Graduate Studies division.

"The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things." —Ronald Reagan

Leadership is an important practice within organizations. I've spent much of my career in education following leaders with different, unique styles and approaches to leadership. Now, I've had the opportunity to draw my own conclusions, tailor what I think is the best approach for me and share effective methods I have witnessed over the course of my career as a teacher and administrator.

Based on my experiences of over twenty years in education, there are three main leadership characteristics you can develop right now.

These three qualities help maintain a productive and healthy environment and can improve social health, generate good morale and promote a positive mindset and culture throughout the organization.

So how can you cultivate your leadership experience to improve your organization? Let's dive into these three essential characteristics for effective leadership.

1. Honesty

Adults meeting in a conference room

A successful leader must lead with honesty and integrity. Honesty is a direct correlation to trust. If your staff believes they can trust you, they are more likely to put forth their best effort. It is this trust factor that builds the leader-staff bond that propels the efforts of the organization forward.

According to Kristin Chapman from Decisionwise, honesty may be interpreted as transparency. Your staff may feel that the effort to be honest is a willingness to communicate, which is an added bonus in team building relationships. Honesty in a leadership role means being willing to listen and communicate even when it may be something that may be unpopular or uncomfortable. Chapman also describes honesty in a leadership role by being willing to stay true to what you say, follow through on what you promise and meeting pertinent deadlines that help to support and spur your team on.

2. Listening

A second characteristic that helps you to be an effective leader in your environment is the art of listening. According to Craig Impelman from Success, a key element in the art of listening is to not think of what you're going to say next, but instead making a conscious effort to quiet your mind while the other person is talking. This can help you really retain and remember what the other person is trying to communicate to you.

Making a conscious effort to listen to people and understand their perspective gives them an opportunity to be heard and makes them feel like a stakeholder in the team or organization as a whole. We've all had times where we could tell those with whom we were speaking weren't really listening, and we could feel it. Be a leader who genuinely cares and is attentive to the well-being of your team.

Your ability to listen as a leader gives you an opportunity to learn, gather information, understand people and build better relationships with members of the staff. A listening ear makes your teams feel important and in return those staff members will feel like you are concerned about their well-being.

3. Growth Mindset

Female taking handwritten notes in a meeting

The third characteristic for effective leadership is establishing an environment where Growth Mindset is the norm. According to Mindsetworks, Dr. Carol Dweck identified growth and fixed mindset as the "underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. When students believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement."

Being a leader means getting the best out of your staff and pushing them a little farther than they think they can go. This boosts their self-confidence and helps your organization grow.

Growth mindset allows one to reflect on prior struggles and, most importantly, prior successes. This develops a bank of confidence that helps your team members take on tasks with a positive energy to learn and grow from experiences. A good leader stresses the importance of a growth mindset and explains its role in facing organizational challenges with enthusiasm.

You can read more about growth mindset in these blog articles: "Choosing Success" and "Seeing Success."

Enhance Your Organization with Leadership

A leader in an organization has an influential responsibility in maintaining a productive environment, improving the social health of an organization and generating good morale throughout the organization. By practicing these three essential characteristics of honesty, listening and promoting a growth mindset, you can thrive as a leader and empower your teams.

With the opportunity to continue to develop your leadership knowledge, skills and experience with a degree program, you can match your education with your career aspirations. Connect with our enrollment team to learn more about how you can advance your leadership with a program designed to get you to where you want to be.

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About the Author

Jason Wesley is an adjunct faculty member at Cornerstone University's Professional & Graduate Studies division. As an experienced educator, he teaches courses in the Master of Arts in Education program.

Category: Leadership