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If you’re trying to make an impact in your field, then you’ve got to be a leader. No matter what industry you’re in, leaders guide their staff members, but they do so, in a way that is unique, always fresh, and always changing.

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In the early 2000s, things were a lot different than they are now. As time has gone on, hustle culture has changed, culture has changed, technology has changed…everything has changed. So, it’s important that our understanding of what makes a good leader changes too.

In popular culture, you might see a leader depicted as someone who takes charge in the office, someone who is always willing to take the fall for the team, someone who never stops working, and more. Sure, leaders might possess these qualities, but we’ve got to dig deeper, to uncover the traits that the most progressive and impactful leaders possess, in 2023.

Let’s talk about what it means to be a leader, today. Not only will we discuss the up-to-date qualities of a leader in 2023, but we’ll also discuss some old traits of a leader, that should be left in 2022.

Let’s get started.

Ditch These Traits—Outdated Leadership Trends

In almost every company, higher-ups are concerned about productivity. Of course, this is incredibly important, but oftentimes, leaders have a tendency to push productivity, at the expense of their employees. It might be controversial for some, but it’s outdated for leaders to make their employees work a 40-, 50-, or 60-hour work week.

You might be wondering—why? Well, when a leader makes their employees work this much, it actually reflects that the leader has poor time management skills. It’s proven that people are more productive when they’re working less. That’s right, less—not more.

When it comes down to it, leaders should listen to the data. If leaders listen to the data in their field, then it only makes sense that they listen to the data that supports shorter workdays and shorter work weeks.

Work-life balances are in style this year, so if you want to be a successful leader, be sure to promote productivity while promoting rest, vacation time, and days off for physical and mental health reasons.

You don’t have to compromise a successful team when you give your team plenty of time to rest and recharge. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Also, it’s outdated to be inflexible. Now, you might be thinking: “of course it is,” but things might become murky for you when it comes to deadlines and projects.

Even if there’s a deadline on a project, in most cases, it isn’t the end of the world if it takes a few hours more to complete, than you projected. Of course, sometimes things have to be done at a certain time, but things happen in the lives of your team, so you’ve got to ensure that you’re being as flexible as you can with them.

If a deliverable needs to be completed a little late, don’t fret. In 2023, good leaders take the time to understand that work is not the most important thing in the world.

It’s important, but not the most important thing in the world.

Here are Some Traits of Leaders in 2023

They are Humble

Leaders should be secure and confident, but they should never overpower their team, or have an overly large ego. When it comes down to it, leaders must lead, but they are also regular members of the team.

If the team can’t work together and get along, then it’s going to be impossible for the team to get anything done. Usually, leaders that are not humble, drag the team down and create a toxic workplace.

If you’re trying to be a transformative leader in 2023, be humble.

They Know When to Step Down

Despite popular belief, leaders do not know everything! Leaders must always remember that their team has valuable assets, and sometimes, their team members are better at completing tasks than the leader themself is.

Let’s use an elementary example, to illustrate this:

If you’ve got to complete a project quickly, and it has to be done on the program Excel, then you’re going to assign that project to someone who is the best at using the software. If that person is not the leader, then the leader wouldn’t work on the project.

With that, it’s never a problem to admit you’re incapable of doing a project or to admit that someone else would be better at a project. So, if you’re a leader in 2023, you have got to know when to admit that you’re not the right person for the job, and you have got to understand that your team members are talented individuals who can pick up the slack for you.

They Ensure Their Team Feels Included

In 2023, companies must ensure that they are promoting a workplace that is devoted to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. This means, that a good leader will ensure that everyone feels safe and included, in the workplace.

Queer employees, employees of color, and women employees should all feel included in the workplace. Great leaders understand how to minimize oppression in the workplace. It’s not an option anymore, it’s an imperative. Everyone should feel safe.

They Should be Able to Lead from Far Away

We all know what this means: leaders should be able to lead remotely. In the new age of remote work, leaders should be able to give direction, give feedback, cultivate a community, and more, from afar.

The workplace environment is changing, because it is not necessarily a requirement for companies to be in an office anymore. This means, that leaders should be able to learn how to read the body language of their employees in video chat sessions. They should be able to have one on one meetings, in video chat sessions. And they should be able to give concise direction over email, Slack, and other messaging systems.

It’s still important that leaders know how their team is feeling. And it’s still important that leaders understand how to give their team directions, successfully.

So, it’s time to adapt, to be able to do these things online and from afar.

They Should be Able to Get Their Team Excited About Work

There’s nothing more uninspiring than a workplace environment that is full of unmotivated employees. As a leader, it is important that you are able to get your team excited about their work.

Oftentimes, the leader’s attitude about the company reflects the team’s attitude about the company. So, you’ve got to ensure that you’re enthusiastic and engaged in your work. We mentioned earlier that it doesn’t take a 60-hour workweek to get a lot of work done. In fact, it’s more important that your team is engaged because if they are, they’re going to get a lot of work done.

The amount of enthusiasm that is exerted toward a task, is often more important than the amount of time exerted towards a task. Make sure that your employees know this.

They Can Laugh with Their Team

According to a Gallup study, one in two employees will decide to leave the workplace, if their manager is negatively impacting their life. Of course, this is incredibly self-explanatory, but as a leader, you can’t negatively impact your employees’ life!

Leaders should be able to have a positive rapport with their employees. Whether that means taking your team out to business lunches, scheduling team-building events, simply sending encouraging messages to the team throughout the day, or whatever else, you’ve got to make your team smile and laugh.

There’s nothing worse than a boss that makes their employees feel uncomfortable or upset, so try laughing with your team—you’ll see a positive impact in your team’s productivity, the office’s community, and more.

They Know to Invest in Their Employees

Your team is a great asset, and your team deserves to be the best that it can be. So, whether you send your team to professional development courses or send an employee to a graduate program, a good leader knows that the company has to invest in the team.

Although it’s great to allow your team to pursue other degrees and classes, you can also invest in your team by giving them opportunities to travel abroad—or by allowing them to take a short leave of absence to pursue other projects. Your employees deserve to broaden their horizons, and when they broaden their horizons, the company broadens its horizons too.

Never underestimate the importance of employees who have experience outside of the workplace, and as a leader, it’s your job to encourage this. Worldly experiences result in better communication skills, more intelligence, and more happiness.

Final Thoughts

If we had to summarize what the word ‘leader’ means in 2023, we might say that a leader is selfless.

As time has gone on, it’s become more and more clear that it is imperative for a leader to think about the good of the team first. The company and the team will thrive when there is a selfless leader in charge.

In 2023, be a selfless leader.