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4 Qualities of Effective LeadersLeaders who achieve the greatest success are those who put success on their team.

They operate as ship captains, mapping their company’s course but relying on the strength of their crew to keep business afloat, all the while ensuring that their crew is safe and able to perform effectively.

So let’s take a closer look into how leaders maintain strong, motivated teams to achieve success.

They Put the Needs of Others First

Leadership is not about prestige or about being on top. It’s the daily practice of putting the lives of others ahead of our own interests.

Imagine you were a passenger on a plane that got caught in the middle of a storm. Would you expect the pilot to run from the the cockpit in a panic and ask you to steer through the turbulence? Of course not! You’d probably expect to hear an announcement that would put your mind at ease: “Folks, we are experiencing a bit of turbulence here, so we ask that you please keep your seat belts fastened. We expect to be in the clear again in just a few minutes.”

When you boarded the plane, you were trusting that your pilot would fly you safely and calmly to your destination because it’s his job to lead, make judgment calls on your behalf, and assume that risk. And if the plane goes down, he’ll be the first one taking the blow. That’s what true leadership is.

Sure, sometimes it’s uncomfortable, nerve-wracking, or even downright terrifying. But people are depending on you to steer them in the right direction, and it’s your responsibility as a leader to create that same safe environment for your staff.

They Create an Environment of Trust

Organizations don’t succeed or fail because of the people; they do so because of the environment. And as motivational speaker Simon Sinek says: “When we get the environment right, humans will do remarkable things.” This is because the natural response to a safe environment is trust and cooperation.

On the contrary, when an organization lacks trust, it leads to paranoia, mistrust, and self-interest. When people fear their leader, they’ll do everything they can to protect themselves from him or her, a waste of valuable time and energy that could otherwise be spent producing great work.

But by being a leader that your employees trust, your staff will come to work motivated and unafraid to take on new challenges.

They Value Their Staff’s Contributions

But the reality is, employees don’t always stick around forever, and that’s especially true if they’re unhappy with the management. As the saying goes, “people leave managers, not companies” – but not for the reason you might think. As it turns out, recognition matters more than money, according to a study on new employees.

Employees who are recognized for their contributions tend to have higher job satisfaction and stay at their jobs longer – a direct reflection of the treatment they receive from their leaders. Good leaders recognize their staff members and the unique value that they bring to their organization, and more importantly, they show their appreciation.

And there’s about as many ways to show appreciation for a job well done as there are jobs to do well, and they don’t cost a cent: thanks, praise, positive feedback from fellow employees, and even giving more challenging assignments to show you trust in their abilities. It’s not always about giving more money. Instead, give them your time, your interest, and your recognition. It goes a long way.

They’re Constantly Learning & Improving

There’s no leadership map with an end destination; it’s all about the journey. No one starts out in a leadership role and is perfect on Day 1, 2, 3 or even day 365. It’s a constant growth process.

Even the most professional leaders in the world still have something to learn, whether that’s gaining knowledge from other industry professionals, learning how to be a better teacher, or seeking new life experiences outside the workplace to expand their outlook.

Because the more knowledge leaders have to share, the more effectively they can lead, and that means happier, more productive teams and smooth sailing ahead.