The journey to be a great leader is never an easy one. Anyone can be a leader but only very few can become great leaders in small or large organizations.
So, what does a great leader look like?
I believe that a great leader must possess a few characteristics that are natural and part of their DNA. That is, delegate with confidence, exhibit honesty and empathy, ability to inspire their staff, show commitment, exude healthy confidence, sound communication skills, and lastly have a consistent positive and enthusiastic demeanor. Great leaders will recognize publicly and reprimand privately.
Delegate with confidence
Truly knowing your staff and their capabilities allows a good leader to delegate with confidence tasks to their employees. A leader recognizes that he/she cannot do everything on their own and will inspire their staff to take on extra responsibilities. This not only allows the leader to focus on the larger picture but more importantly promotes a positive morale. Employees will feel appreciated and honored because of their manager placing much trust in their capabilities. However, a great leader will understand that through delegation employees may err and thus they need to be understanding and show them the way forward.
Exhibit honesty & empathy
Leaders responsible for teams of people should always be straightforward with them. It is inevitable at times we must deliver negative news. A good leader can deliver these conversations with a positive manner which result in staff appreciation and willingness to change for the better. Having the ability to understand your team’s feelings is paramount to guiding them through challenges. Instead of making things so personal when a problem is encountered or assigning blame. Great leaders will work with staff to land on solutions, drive focus and move forward.
Inspire and be committed.
Another defining quality of a good leader is the ability to inspire staff and lead them into achieving their goals and objectives which align to the company’s vision. As more and more of us in the workforce are faced with doing more with less, we often find ourselves with a heavy workload. It is during these tough times that management must show their commitment to helping their staff. Nothing shows commitment better than leaders working amongst their staff to get the work done. It is very inspiring to see a leader working amongst staff.
By illustrating your commitment to your staff and your company, you will not only earn their respect, but will also instill the same smart/hardworking drive amongst them. Always lead by example.
Everyone states that communication is the key to success. Leaders with poor communication almost always deal with a team lacking understanding of company goals, vision, and strategy.
Good communication should be clear and consistent to establish work expectations and explain how each member of the team contributes to the value of the organization. Consistent and timely communication diminishes the level of incorrect assumptions staff make that may promote toxic environments. When in doubt better to over communicate than not.
Being positive and enthusiastic
The best of leaders are extremely enthusiastic about their role working amongst teams. They are emphatic about their personal causes and promote them with a high level of energy.
People generally respond more openly to leaders who exhibit passion and much dedication. To keep energy levels healthy, leaders need to use positive language and behaviour while guiding staff towards succeeding as a team. This can take form with simple ideas such as; non work related get togethers. This can be virtual during covid and obviously in person through normal circumstances. Be personable and not the stuffy old “BOSS” way. Remember that everyone on your team is a person with a personal life, personal tribulations, and challenges. In my career I have always tried to lend my support to my staff for professional and personal challenges. In return I have received much respect and loyalty.
Good leadership behaviour
Be cognizant of your facial expressions, tone and body language as this can stifle your team from being engaged or vocal. You may eliminate great staff ideas being shared.
NEVER EVER reprimand publically and recognize privately.
NEVER EVER provide responses like “let me stop you there,” or “I am the boss”!
Avoid constantly interrupting staff when they are passionate about an idea or solution to get your point across. Sometimes epiphanies are at the end of a conversation.
Simply lead others as you would like to be led!
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things”
– Peter Drucker “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell