Generally speaking in all of the positions I have held there have been good leaders and bad leaders. The difference between what I call a “good” leader and a “bad” leader boil down to just a few attributes that really makes the difference. These five qualities are what I have found to be the most predominately present in those “good” leaders I have had the pleasure to work for and with.
Encouragement; too many times we talk to people that have worked for an organization for 20 years and not a single contribution they have given has been recognized either private or publicly. Recognizing contributions of employees, genuinely with true appreciation for what they have given to the organization is vital. By encouraging with recognition, leaders can raise quality through their people inevitability fortifying the organization to survive nearly everything from small bumps in the road to massive disasters.
Being a good role model; being a good example for your followers, and the followers of others. There are many leaders in the world that hold their followers to a standard but seam to forget that if the followers are expected to conform to this standard the leader must also. In past experiences, nothing has hurt moral more then a leader barking orders of how “things” are going to be, yet when their opportunity comes to do the same they fail to rise to their own standards.
Inspiring shared ideas; this refers to sharing a dream, vision, or idea with others, by recruiting others in a common vision, employees feel they are a part of the grand scheme, and have an exciting attractive vision of the future. A vision or dream may best be described as “a force that invents the future.” It’s one thing for a leader to have a vision to go toward but without the buy-in or recruitment of the followers that shuttle will never take off. It’s easy to see how exciting the masses about a dream of the future can lead to the dream materializing into successful business endeavor.
Empowering others; I feel this goes hand and hand with inspiring a shared idea. When a leader enables others to act and take on responsibility for their ideas and actions, it fosters collaboration and builds trust among leadership and their followers. Giving the wheel of a project to a team collaboration, where the members are individually accountable for the success of the group creates instant buy in of all parties involved. There may be other ways of getting employee ownership in a project or process but enabling them to make the decisions gives the feeling of “I own this.”
Challenging processes; often in organizations we hear “well we do it that way cus we have always done it what way.” Although past efforts have done the job, what’s to say there’s not a better way of doing something and possibly more efficiently? Searching for opportunities to grow, innovate, and advance, gives an organization a chance to tap they’re most valuable resource, its people, and improve a process. Sometimes this will involve experimenting and taking risks, but without trying and challenging the process a business would never know if there was an enhanced way of completing the same process keeping the business competitive in the global marketplace.
These five qualities of being a good leader can be used separately or jointly to help a leader support and inspire their followers. By being a good example for their followers, sharing their ideas, searching for opportunities to innovate, grow, and improve; nurturing collaboration and recognizing contributions of employees, leaders can be more effectively keep an organization moving forward and capture the maximum return on investment of the most valuable resource they have, the people.