Contrary to popular belief, great leaders are not born overnight. Though some may have innate leadership qualities, all great ones spend years building and honing their craft. Becoming a great leader is not an easy journey. As a leader, you hold the weight of responsibility of your team. You must be able to motivate and inspire a group of employees to constantly provide their best work while maintaining yours. Plus, leaders are perpetually scrutinized for their actions and decisions. Poor management can lead to a ripple effect throughout his/her team members that eventually extends throughout the company. Needless to say, a thriving company needs to have great leaders. But the question remains, what qualities lead to greatness in leadership?
A leader or manager within or of a company is expected to have all the answers, or at least know how to acquire them. They should have a strong understanding of the company’s objectives, goals, processes, procedures, products, and services. Leaders should also have insight into the trajectory of a company, so they can guide their teams towards the future. Employees need to trust that their leader has the knowledge and will lead them into success. Once employees feel they cannot rely on their leader/manager, they will begin to falter in their work, costing the leader the power to inspire.
Leading means having the ability to make confident decisions. These decisions must ensure the good of the company as well as the team. Once an employee knows his/her leader or manager has their back, they will be inspired to do the same. At times, a leader must quickly make risky decisions whilst accurately assessing potential consequences. This includes taking responsibility of every decision. The toughest part about being a good leader is that there’s no safety net. If a something goes awry, there is no one else to blame. If a decision does not go as planned, a great leader must have the foresight to learn from his/her mistakes and ensure a better course of action is taken the next time round.
Great leaders produce hardworking employees. To maintain their employees’ hard work, great leaders must be able to appreciate and give credit when it’s due. They must be mindful of their employee’s work time and treat them fairly. Investing in a proper employee time tracking system that’s easy for managers/leaders to analyze and employees to use, is a clear-cut way to decipher how hard and how long their employees are working. Great leaders can use this information to help avoid burnout amongst employees or reward the employees that go above and beyond. By appreciating the hard-working employees, leaders indirectly inspire underperforming employees to work harder. Appreciation can include praise, paid time off, or even bonuses.
Great leaders must be able to empower their employees. This ensures good work is consistently produced without the need for micromanagement. A confident group of autonomous employees is evidence of a great leader.
When an employee is empowered, he/she is inspired to take pride in their work. That is the greatest motivation anyone can have. Once they feel valued and respected, employees will take the time to provide solutions and suggestions that’ll improve the status quo. Employee feedback is a fantastic asset to any company.
- Flexible Communication
A great leader understands how to communicate with a diverse group of employees. In order to provide the best communication tactic per employee, a leader must be able to connect with a variety of individuals from different backgrounds. Practicing cultural awareness and political correctness has become mandatory in the workforce. Along with a respectful environment, leaders and managers should adopt an open-door policy and provide accessible communication channels. Administering an open line of communication helps leaders gage their team’s morale as well as recognize and prevent any potential conflict. It also creates the opportunity so solve problems collectively. Instead of creating a structure where the leader or manager dictates how to manage a situation, leaders can actively engage their employees by promoting collective solutions.
Great leaders must exhibit integrity to require it from their employees. Integrity in the workplace refers to fairness, honesty, and honor. A leader with a strong moral compass creates a culture of trust and loyalty. Providing this environment increases employee longevity at a company. Afterall, a leader cannot lead without a team.