The longer I’m interested in the workforce, the more I admire a successful leader. They’re not mutually exclusive names, and a successful leader is not easy to come by; I’ve seen managers and then I’ve seen leaders.
A Psychology Today article describes leadership as: “using influence for a worthwhile cause.” I hope it’s a little more intuitive to identify a worthwhile cause, but how do we influence it? What characteristics does a leader embody and how do we exude those characteristics? Read on to find out (or be reminded of) what features a good leader has.
Shows, not announcements
It’s like the cliché, “actions speak louder than words.” A good guide leads, yes, by words, but more importantly, a good guide leads by words.
A leader knows the weight is borne by speech. In an email, over coffee, during a presentation, and at a happy hour at work, they realize they bear the same weight. They know that their staff and peers are listening and at all times they deliberately and thoughtfully choose their words.
Conversations about feelings, not people
Great minds discuss ideas; events are discussed by average minds; people are discussed by small minds. A chief should not take part in the rumors about water coolers. They know the gossip is breaking up, not creating a great squad.
Comprehension of their power
A leader is an individual who sets the tone for work ethics and for the culture of the team or company. There’s a fair chance their immediate reports would follow suit if a boss comes in early every day. If a leader wears jeans every day to work, his subordinates will also feel free to do so.The feeling will move and infiltrate the team if a leader vents their report on something considered unjust.
To gravitate more towards some individuals, and not others, is normal human behaviour. A leader knows not to play favorites and gives all their reports equal time, attention, and effort. In middle school, or in the movies, a leader leaves cliques where they belong.
Asks for criticism
Not only is a leader’s task to promote the improvement of their reports, they also recognize that they are only human. They constantly ask both their supervisors and reports for input and actively work on the criticisms they get.