John C. Maxwell says, “Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about how you influence another life”.
Leaders help to mould the nation, societies, and establishments. You need fantastic leaders to guide you and make the vital significant choices that keep the world moving forward. Everyone’s definition of a good leader is different. However, you define a leader, he or she can be the variance amid disappointment and achievement.
A good leader has an innovative dream and identifies the way to execute his vision into real success stories. When you are asked to think of someone inspiring you, someone you identify with, a wide variety of people come to mind, isn’t it? Someone close in your life, a famous personality from the movies or sports arena, a historic character you admire.
People are generally swift when it comes to recognizing a bad leader, but how do you recognize a good one? What according to most people makes someone a good leader? A good manager can make or break a team.
While the kind of individual may not be the same, often, the set of qualities and skills that makes him or her a good leader are the same. Google wanted to know what makes a manager great. Here’s what they found
In this article, let’s take a thorough look at some of the vital leadership abilities that separate the bad leaders from the good leaders.
- Being transparent – Simon Sinek says, “Transparency does not mean sharing every aspect. Transparency means providing context for the decisions we make.” If you want your team to be the best and you look forward to the success of your ideas, then being transparent at work is important. What does it entail? Well, explaining the reason for your decisions, the end goals and the route you hope to pursue to achieve your goals with your team is what is required. Open communications are important. Believing information should be given on a need to know basis is passé.
2. Earn trust by giving it: If you don’t trust your employees or teammates to do the work assigned, then you are going to end up stressed or doing all the work yourself. You must first put your faith in your team to have your back. It is a two-way street, so if they know they have your support unconditionally, then you can trust they will do everything needed and more. Be ready to pick up the slack if someone needs it or is unable to finish the task on time. Getting down in the trenches when needed tells them you are always ready to help. To earn trust, you must learn to give it first.
3. Hire for EQ, train for IQ: Hiring anywhere is almost always done for the person’s IQ. EQ comes into the picture quite later. Training someone to be empathetic, socially aware, and practice strong relationship management becomes difficult, as not everyone is the same. A Center for Creative Leadership study revealed one of the main reasons for executive failure was defects in EQ especially when it came to handling change, weak interpersonal skills and failure to work well in a team. The World Economic Forum’s 2016 study believed Emotional Intelligence would be one of the top 10 skills for the workplace at the end of 2020. Employees with a higher EQ were more likely to stay cool under pressure, resolve fights efficiently, lead by illustration and take more considerate decisions.
4. Eat lunch with your team: Haven’t we all heard the adage, the family that eats together stays together? Well, in this case, your team is like a family where each person is different, has varied opinions and different life experiences. Sharing a meal make you, the manager more approachable. Who knows, your next best friend is one from the team. Eating together fosters a sense of camaraderie, team members feel closer and communication lines remain open. The team members don’t feel divided even when working on different things.
5. Tell people their work matters: Don’t you want to be appreciated for your efforts? In the same way, all your teammates expect you to at the least acknowledge their effort and work done. Don’t just say ‘Okay’, make sure you tell your team the work they do matters, and you understand the effort that goes into finishing a task. Creating a positive vibe helps to make the team or employees feel appreciated and happy. This happiness then translates to better productivity. So, it’s a WIN-WIN all around.
6. Be a player-coach: There are so many styles of leadership, from the autocratic to democratic to laissez-faire. However, some effective leaders from Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, to Olivia McCall all are strong proponents of the player-coach leadership style. They all knew how to prioritize, set up a leadership succession plan, train other leaders under you to act, listen carefully, making sure the information was available to everyone thereby avoiding the emergence of silos. Engaging with your team, being open to their ideas and motivating them to put their 100% at work are some ways to manage the player-coach style of leadership.
7. Feedback in private, praise in public: Offering negative feedback when others are present tends to demoralize people. To be a good leader remember to offer constructive feedback in-person and praise in public. Praising the person in public helps to add more import to the effort. When you explain what made the effort great, others on the team learn something new. Criticizing someone in public will seem harsh and unkind and will make the person defensive. Defensive people find it difficult to accept their mistakes and learn from them. However, the same criticism offered in private will not get you the same reaction. You may even help the person do better than before.
8. In victory, lead from the back, in crisis, lead from the front: Nelson Mandela said, “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is a danger.” If you have noticed the army always mentions the team that helps them win, and most often the leader is the first one to go check for danger. In normal everyday lives, that quality is what will differentiate you from other managers. Letting the team accept the accolades and supporting them unflinchingly when in crisis is an important trait for a great leader to have.
Of course, these traits are the ones you must have or cultivate. However, your inherent goodness and fair play will always be a part of the characteristics that make you a good leader. Like most successful leaders claim, “Success is the reward of the effort and sweat of many in any organization”.