The top qualities of a great leader

Written by
Gabriela Dittrichova
Published on
June 24, 2021

In February, we kicked off a brand-new leadership program where you can build your skills, develop talents and reach a goal of being a great leader. To celebrate the expansion of the Femme Palette portfolio, we created a list of the most important qualities every leader should possess. Good news is that you can acquire all of these in our 6-months program.

Managing a team is not an easy task. People are the essence of most businesses, therefore it is crucial to help them discover their potential and lead them in a way they feel inspired to perform their best. Only then can you and your team achieve the best results and grow constantly - be it at an international corporation or a small start-up level. And although the type of industry will differ, one thing will stay the same - the uniqueness of the people and thus the need to adjust one’s approach and treat each individual in an honest and sincere way. 

Different leaders have different techniques in helping their colleagues thrive and if they are successful, they will often lead a high-performance team. Here is what you can do to improve the performance of your own team, too. 

1. Honest conversations

It all starts with communication; the first impression is important but don’t let it fool you. People might act nervous or shy at the start, so your role as a leader is to make them feel comfortable and at ease. Sometimes you click with someone, sometimes you don’t, and that is fine. However, don’t let those biases get into the way of your work. If you want to maintain a professional attitude, join our leadership program where you will get advice from the top business experts and female leaders in the Czech republic. 

“Treat each individual in an honest and sincere way.”

Is your team member a newbie or have they been long in the industry? What expertise do they have and can share with the team? When you meet a new person, show your interest. People love talking about themselves, so asking questions will help break the ice. From then on, arrange regular check-ups or make sure that the team members feel they can come and talk to you whenever necessary when there is a problem. If you can, employ an HR department to create an action plan for your team member to be of the greatest benefit to the team and, consequently, to the company. Identifying employees' strengths and weaknesses will help you manage people’s expectations and assign the correct tasks to the relevant team members. Thus will in return boost their productivity. If the company culture allows, don’t be afraid to move people around. You might tap into a new pool of skills and talents they might not even know of. 

2. Being approachable

People in start-ups are famous for their juggling abilities where they are either wearing multiple hats or balancing their regular job with the side hustle, or both! In those cases, it is understandable that the leader is always busy and the team tries to avoid overwhelming him/her with their questions. However, the leader’s responsibility is to show a human face and be as approachable as possible. Only then, when the team is encouraged to ask questions and clarify uncertainties, can they all thrive. Resolving issues leads to fast and efficient growth whilst also strengthening inter-team relations.

“Leader must show a human face to be approachable.”

Some companies might measure dedication in terms of the number of hours worked. This can often be a direct consequence of the behaviour of the boss - the leader. If the superior comes first to the office and leaves last, the employee is likely to reflect that approach in order to gain recognition for their efforts. Some managers are heavily impacted by their previous experience and although they realise the toxicity of such actions, they struggle to change it. In such cases, it might be a good idea to compensate for the time spent at the desk by doing things outside of the office. Managers can invite their team members for a coffee, walk together in the park during lunch break or talk on the commute to/from work. In other words, a good leader makes him/herself available and acts approachable, so the employees feel comfortable and valued, and thus can perform their best. Maybe it will never be taken advantage of, but allowing the subordinates to talk openly to their superior can have a large impact. 

3. Enabling connections  

More often than not, networking is key in almost any kind of business. This means that an equal amount of attention should go into your work as into what your team is doing. Can you describe the direction in which they want to evolve, identify their talents? If so, you just created an easy reward system for yourself - making introductions. It does not cost a penny to introduce someone, yet it can go a long way. Once you connect two people, from then onwards, it is their responsibility to make the most out of it, your role has ended. If it works out, you gain gratitude from your team member, if it does not, you only lost a few minutes of your time. It is a win-win scenario.

However, various employees might be afraid of networking, therefore, make sure you choose the right way of introducing them - some might prefer networking events (get inspired here), others might favour an online introduction (e.g. via LinkedIn). Make sure you know what your colleague's preference is before you take action. An error-free method is by following the previous step - being approachable.

“Trust and mutual respect are key elements of networking.”

Once the needs are recognised, it becomes easier to introduce your colleagues to the right people AND in the right way. Linking them to an inspirational speaker, affluent businessperson or potential mentor is a resource-efficient way to recognise their efforts. It also shows that you value your co-workers and are willing to help them advance in their career. 

However, introductions require a large amount of trust. By presenting an employee, you attach your name to theirs and are putting YOUR reputation at risk. Trust and mutual respect are key elements of networking and introducing a team member to your connection. Therefore, you must be 100% sure that the selected employee will show respect and represent well not only the company but also you, their team leader. 

If you don’t want to put your reputation at risk or don’t have in your network someone who could help your team member, consider signing them up for the Femme Palette mentoring program. In this way, you provide an additional benefit to your fellow worker, yet, again, save time since the Femme Palette takes care of the logistics for you. 

4. Keeping up

As a leader, you act as the role model and should also regularly expand your own network. If you struggle to break out of your professional circles, maybe consider joining our community to share inspiration and bounce ideas off other inspiring business people. Meeting like-minded individuals from all walks of life will not only broadens your horizon, but also saves time searching for the right people among your existing connections. Becoming a part of the Femme Palette community is free and can not only significantly impact the size of your  network but also affect your personal development

“Participating in a community builds your empathy.”

The easiest way to boost your connections is through attending networking events which Femme Palette is organising regularly in Prague and Brno. Meeting new people allows you to gain new perspectives, learn from others and understand a broad variety of problems. The most important part is to share your mistakes, which helps you gain the courage to continue in your mission whilst realising that nobody is perfect. Participating in a community builds your empathy and develops understanding, which are key attributes of a successful leader. 

5. Getting inspired

You can get more tips like these if you join the FP leadership program where you can have inspiring conversations with professional leaders from a variety of industries in the Czech Republic. Similarly, you can build an action plan which you can implement to either your existing team or the one that you are yet to build. Either way, Femme Palette supports you along the way and is ready to help you solve some of the inevitable challenges you are likely to face. As humans, failing is a natural part of our lives, but it is about what we learn from our errors and how it helps us grow, what makes us special. Femme Palette is here to help you to be the best version of yourself.

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