Being a “good leader” is, to be frank, subjective. What looks like a good leader to one person may look like a poor leader to another. However, there are some honorable traits that most would agree help to make someone a good leader, and today, we’d like to give our take on what this title means. Peer Support Central offers leadership courses for those looking to take opportunities to be a leader, and also for those already in a position of leadership who are looking to gain new skills.

Traits Of A Good Leader

Good leaders remain positive. This doesn’t mean you have to be a happy-go-lucky person all the time, but remaining positive and optimistic about situations will help your team to be positive and optimistic as well. If you’re a fire chief and you tell your team, “There’s no way we’ll ever get this fire out. It’s going to keep burning forever,” then why would your fire fighters put in the effort to control the blaze? Encouraging your team and letting them know where there is a will, there is a way, is the first step in being a good leader. This goes for people who are not in positions of leadership as well. Encourage your teammates, let them know that they have this in the bag.   

Good leaders are confident. Along with being positive and optimistic, leaders should be confident. This means confident in their abilities as a leader, and confident in those who they lead. As a first responder, your confidence transcends beyond just your teammates. If you are confident, the public who put their trust in you will be confident too.  

Good leaders are focused. This means not getting distracted by minor details, and focusing on the task at hand. Good leaders are able to look past trivial things to reach the ultimate goal.

Good leaders are cool under pressure. Leaders, especially first responders or military personnel, need to retain stoicism even in the darkest, most terrifying moments. Whether you are under political pressure from a higher-up, or under fire from an enemy, keeping calm and carrying on is key to ensuring that your team can do the same. When a leader breaks, a team can break as well. The first step in staying stoic is being prepared for traumatic incidents through comprehensive critical incident stress management training for first responders and service men and women. This training is designed to take you step by step through stress management processes during trying times. You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control your reaction.

Good leaders delegate responsibilities. Know when to say no, and know when to pass off responsibilities to others. Have confidence in your team to be able to handle new responsibilities, and allow them to rise to the occasion.

Good leaders are also good listeners. As a leader, you are in a great position to listen, take feedback to heart, and make changes to be better. Give your team opportunities to get real and let you know how they feel about your leadership. Encourage people to talk to you about their problems, whether they are personal problems or work problems. At the same time, share parts of your life with your team. If you open up to them, they will feel comfortable opening up to you. While traumatic times require your stoicism, there are moments when you can be vulnerable enough to listen and share.

Good leaders are committed. As a leader, you should be committed to your job. While there needs to be a work/life balance, you also should be dedicated to being the best leader you can be within your means. This also means having a commitment to growth. Take leadership classes that are designed for first responders or military service members like we offer at Peer Support Central. Even better, join a peer support group near you. Peer support gives you the opportunity to talk with others in your position, gain insight about how others have worked through problems you may be facing, and be an example for your team that it’s okay to seek help. Commit yourself to making your team better by making yourself a better leader.

Good leaders practice integrity. Your team is a reflection of you as a leader, and showing integrity in all that you do will lead to more integrity among your team. We’ve all read about “crooked cops” and we all know that a few officers can give an entire profession a bad name. As a first responder, you are a public figure. Ensuring that you as a leader are practicing integrity will help your team have more confidence in you, and ultimately help them to act with integrity as well.

Good leaders expect the unexpected. While we never want critical incidents to happen on our watch, the fact is that they do happen. This is where the phrase, “Hope for the best, plan for the worst,” fits in. By preparing yourself and your team through critical incident training for law enforcement and others in high-risk fields, you are ensuring that your team is mentally and physically ready to handle the traumas that come with being a first responder or service member.

Good leaders inspire others to be good leaders. Every leader has been inspired by someone. Isaac Newton once wrote, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” All great leaders have been inspired by other people who show leadership in one way or another. As a leader, you should serve as an inspiration for others to take on leadership roles.

Peer Support Central Wants To Help You Become A Better Leader

A good leader always knows when to seek the help of others. Whether this is emotional help through a peer support group, help with preparedness through critical incident stress management training, or through advancing your skills through first responder leadership courses, Peer Support Central is here to help. We have compiled the best resources, the best techniques, and the best people to lead our seminars and help you grow as a leader. Contact us today to learn more, and like our Facebook page for the latest events and training sessions near you.