At some point in your career, you’ll likely lead a team of people. It might not be something you set out to do or it might be something you dream about. Either way, you need to know what it takes to successfully lead a team. And to do that, you need to understand what it takes to be a leader. It can take many years of experience and plenty of self-confidence to lead a team. Some things you can learn along the way. Other things you’ll need to know from the start. Even more are characteristics you’re either born with or aren’t. These are some the attributes of successful leaders. Motivating When you’re leading a team, you not only have to keep yourself motivated, you need to motivate everyone in your team. You have to be able to complete your own work, oversee the work produced by your team and report back to your line managers. This can all become a little overwhelming at times and you need to remain motivated to keep up the pace. John C. Maxwell, leadership author and speaker, says: “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” Knowledgeable A successful leader needs have knowledge about their sector and the skills to get the job done right. Remember, you don’t need to know everything right away. There are some skills you can learn down the road. For instance, time management skills are important. But they can be learned by completing project management training during your first weeks or months on the job. Leaders should take time to read about what other great business leaders are doing and learn from their successes and mistakes. Trusting You need to know that you can trust the members of your team to produce good work. And they need to know that they can trust you to have their best interests at heart. You can maintain this level of trust by keeping the lines of communication open at all times. Your team members will appreciate being included and will feel as if they are working together. Businessman Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says: "Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships." Confidence As mentioned above, leaders need a healthy dose of self-confidence in order to ensure both they and their teams produce large amounts of quality work under considerable pressure. They know what they need to do to ensure work is completed and they know what needs to be said to their team members to be sure tasks are finished. Remember, these are people you’re dealing with, not robots created to do the job. Your decisions will influence their lives. Maxwell says: “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” Image: Pexels