“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” — Ralph Nader, Political activist
The definition of a leader is one who manages or controls others because of his or her ability or position. True leaders don’t make themselves look better than their subordinates, but rather they bring the best out in others. They are asked to motivate others to achieve a common goal. To reignite today’s dormant economy will require people to step up and take a leadership position.
Unfortunately, not all companies don’t have true leaders. Often that title is bestowed to a person merely due to their seniority. Yet, just because one has more years of experience doesn’t necessarily make them a leader. Leaders inspire and motivate others in their words or through their actions. Therefore, it’s of paramount importance that a leader is an enthusiastic and persuasive communicator—both orally and in writing.
Attributes of a good leader can vary wildly by depended upon who’s providing the list.
However, there are some intangible qualities that leaders possess. Some of those include:
The most appealing trait among all leaders is a willingness to take a stand. When things are going well, true leaders provide positive recognition to those deserving in public. When things go wrong, rather than ridiculing and belittling their associates publicly, a competent leader accepts responsibility and seeks solutions to get the team back on track.
If necessary, they have a frank discussion with the subordinate—always done in private. Nobody likes to be reprimanded in front of their peers. A strong leader continually checks in with their team, offering advice, and answer questions to minimize problems proactively before they occur.
“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, and a little less than his share of the credit.” — Arnold Glasow, Businessman and Publisher
While it seems so simple to exude, integrity is one of the most difficult qualities to abide by. Ethics and honesty are cornerstones of a person’s character. There are times tough decisions need to be made, and not everyone is always going to agree. When possible, leaders share information and accept the consequences regardless of the organization’s overall reaction. They do so in a straightforward manner with no spin control. By doing so will exude confidence for the team to follow.
“Character is much easier kept than recovered.” — Thomas Paine, Philosopher & Theorist
3. Inspire others
One of the best ways to motivate others is to participate. Roll up the sleeves and pitch in. When the team sees management in the trenches with them, they more readily engage. Also, depending on the size of the team, spend time with each of them individually. Great leaders are good listeners. Offer input when asked. Otherwise, listen to their ideas as well as their frustrations.
“There’s nothing that inspires that deep sense of belonging like shared empathy!” — Brene Brown, Professor at University of Houston
There’s a fine line between supportive and being over-zealous. Yes, it’s important to be positive, but be empathic. Studies have shown people work harder and attain higher standards when they know their boss is supportive. Employees lose respect for their management very quickly when they are only shared a view of the situation through proverbial rose-colored glasses.
“Passion is so key in leading and creating excellence that I will hire passion over education and talent every time.” — Dave Ramsey, Money Management expert
Nobody ever became a leader without looking ahead. The ability to forecast is a critically important task. Their attention to every detail and their organizational skills are superior. They continually look at every conceivable angle, and open to accepting the opinions of others. They are not afraid of failure, and should they fail, they take responsibility. Leaders communicate their plans to those that are entitled. All strong leaders make contingency plans, just in case.
“The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it, instantly correct, and learn from it.” — Stephen Covey, Motivational Speaker
It goes without say, it’s important to be positive. The energy you convey–whether positive or negative, is contagious. Leaders are equally concerned about each individual on their team as well as their team as a whole. They know exactly what to say to inspire. While at times, they may need to give negative news, it’s important that they don’t come across as a pessimist.
The best head coaches of sports teams and military officers are leaders because through motivation they are able to get all the individuals to work as a team or unit—efficiently and effectively.
“An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while the pessimist sees only the red stoplight. The truly wise person is colorblind.” — Albert Schweitzer, Humanitarian & Philosopher
7. Open door and open mind
When team members feel they can approach their leader without any resentment, hostility, or repercussion, they will give extra effort. Employees who don’t feel appreciated or respected by their supervisor refrain from sharing or getting involved.
Those leaders who have an open-door policy and are willing to listen to ideas or criticism have a far healthier relationship with their team and have more long-term productivity and success.
“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.” — Frank Zappa, Former singer/songwriter
So, whether you’re looking for new opportunities as a manager or a team member 2021, make certain you find the right culture that will allow you to flourish. Management styles vary as much as the job market itself. Happy searching!
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