By Maura Gergerich, Toppel Peer Advisor

Everybody can think of at least one person in their life that they would consider a natural leader. Little do people know that the qualities that create these good leaders may not be natural at all. You can practice the qualities they possess just as easily as you practice things like sports or music. Although everyone has their own definition of what it takes to be a leader, these are some similarities that they all possess.

  1. Delegating

It seems like an easy concept, but giving power and trusting other people to produce results is a challenge for most people. The best leaders acknowledge their own limitations and recognize that they can’t do everything alone. Delegation also lets others feel included in the results produced so they can share in the sense of accomplishment. Giving support and feedback also helps, but keep in mind that there is a huge difference between pointing out flaws and constructive criticism.

  1. Share knowledge

Hoarding information for yourself may seem like its giving you an advantage over others. In truth, not sharing your knowledge most likely will end up sabotaging you later. If you are willing to offer over your piece of knowledge to someone else, others will be far more willing to do the same for you if you have some sort of shortcoming. It’s a give and take from which everybody benefits. Keeping people in the dark makes those who aren’t in the know feel excluded, which inhibits productivity greatly.

  1. Quick responses

If you receive an email or are asked a question, responding efficiently shows so much respect. This does not mean that you have to make rash decisions in order to provide an answer. Swift responses to simple yes or no questions are no brainers, but even if you need to take a moment to think things through or follow through with a request letting the person know that you have heard them and will respond further when you are able gives everyone a little more patience.

  1. Communication

People can’t fix what they’re doing wrong if they don’t know it’s wrong. Likewise, if something new and improving happens, it’s good to know so similar ideas can continue. If you have a vision as to how to achieve the goals you set out for yourself or others the most effective way to accomplish it is being able to explain to others what you’re aiming towards.

  1. Hearing ideas

Getting set in your ways is an easy habit to fall into. However, your standard process may not always be the best. Listen when someone else has thoughts and ideas so you have as many options as possible to find the most effective processes.

  1. Saying “thank you”

It’s not always a popularly heard phrase but it makes a world of difference! Remember to not take things for granted and be appreciative of what people do for you or how they help out.