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effective leadership traits

Effective Leadership Traits for the First-Time Manager

If you are a first-time manager, chances are slim that you would be described by anyone in your organization as a leader. And that is okay. Nevertheless, you should learn about effective leadership traits and apply these straight away to make the leap from "just getting the job done" over to a good manager, and eventually to a leader.


I have been more than a year down my management journey. I want to be seen as a future leader although I am on the stage of becoming a good and efficient manager. Nonetheless, even for the latter, I have been developing certain qualities of a leader. To help you on your path, I will share below the effective leadership traits I have identified with my mentor.

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The Top 3 Effective Leadership Traits and Behaviors

Effective Leadership Traits and Behaviors


#1 Top Leader Trait – Communication

Everything starts and ends with communication. Great leaders know and use this. It includes clarity in the expression of thoughts and also sharing these accordingly. However, another important aspect is processing and categorizing information received from the organization, colleagues, and team members.


A concept that embraces all that is “tailoring communication to the targeted audience”. And this is true for any person in the organization.


I find myself sometimes flooded with information that is non-specific, outdated, and just not of importance to me. Poor communicators who don’t think about the audience make things confusing through that. When I am on the receiving end of this I have to ask very specific questions to come to the core message. When I am sharing information myself I don’t share everything I know but think very carefully about what the receiver cares about and what the purpose of the communication is.


#2 Top Leader Trait – Empathy

The truth of the matter is that every function in a business has its targets and interests. This is also necessary to create balanced products and services which are successful.


However, this can lead to friction in the daily working environment. This is not a problem but can become one if there is no empathy between differing parties.


I must face this regularly as my job in engineering requires a lot of cross-functional work and consensus doesn’t come easily. Nonetheless, I always seek to understand where the other team is coming from and what their requirements are. Often a palatable compromise can be found following that.


The ability to seek to understand is called empathy and great leaders will use this to identify win-win situations which are good for everyone.


#3 Top Leader Trait – Trust

Building trusting relationships with others is crucial for effective relationships. You need to know who to trust but also you need to inspire trust in others to get ahead in your career.


Trusting others needs some maturity and a good judge of character. When I build new relationships in work I first think about the purpose of the relationship and where the other person’s and team’s loyalties lie. This will determine from the start the cap on my trust. If the purpose and loyalties are aligned, the chance of rapport is high, and deeply trusting relationships can be formed with time. If that’s not the case, the relationship will have limitations and require careful consideration.


Being trusted is especially important when difficult decisions and discussions are to be had. If you don’t have the trust of your leadership and others in your abilities, you will have a hard time getting your message across.

International Association of Women membership
Free work interview preparation for first time manager questions
Career with a View networking event

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