Whether you’re a consultant or a manager, you probably know that the best leaders tend to embody virtuous qualities such as a strong work ethic, honesty, and personal responsibility. A company with dysfunctional management or an “above it all” consulting team is a lot like a car with a dysfunctional motor; the results are usually shaky at best and catastrophic at worst. Here are just a few qualities that are essential for good leadership and consulting skills, and why they matter.
Good Listening Skills
Leaders and consultants need to be exceptional listeners to excel. Many individuals hear, but are not actually actively listening to what is being discussed. Good listening skills will lead to improved relationships in the office, increased productivity, and better customer satisfaction. All leaders should continue to improve their listening skills to improve overall company performance.
An old adage among top military brass in World War I had it that if an officer could “get to know their troops, those troops would follow them anywhere.” The saying conveyed the still-relevant notion that one of the strongest qualities a leader can have is the ability to see things from their charges’ perspective. When people feel as though their leader is aloof and detached from the problems faced by an organization, they’ll feel no incentive to perform well or dedicate themselves to their work. When a leader is engaged and caring, however, people working under them will respond in kind and do their best to help their team succeed.
As managers or consultants, the buck has to stop with us. Taking responsibility when mistakes are made isn’t just a moral imperative, it also reminds us that such mistakes can’t be repeated in the future. A good manager or consultant will hold themselves personally responsible for their decisions not only because it is the right thing to do, but because they know that employees look to them for guidance. When employees can’t trust leaders to take responsibility for the direction a company is going in, they will lose all motivation to do quality work. And that is a crisis of confidence no company wants to experience.
For these reasons, a management or consultant team that cultivates good leadership qualities is imperative for a company to reach its full potential. Without the virtues of personal responsibility, empathy, and caring for employees, managers and consultants can quickly turn an otherwise winning team into a toxic environment. With the right qualities and the capacity for recognizing where we fall short, however, we can all become better leaders.