If you consider the great leaders in history, certain characteristics distinguish a good leader from a bad leader. Good leaders raise people and give them their own power. Bad leaders subordinate their people and take their power away. Consider the leaders you have met in your life. Reflect on which brought the best out in you. I’m sure you will agree, a good leader shares knowledge with others and demonstrates the desire to help others develop, perform and be at their best. Which are you?
Do you fear change, or is change perceived as an opportunity? Change is inevitable for individuals and businesses, so it needs to be accepted and embraced, ideally sooner rather than later.
When you are at work, do you feel a sense of belonging, and your work is valued? Within each business are employees who engage and take accountability for their actions, using their time effectively. However, some fill up the time without accomplishing any meaningful work. To be a good leader, it is your responsibility to inspire people to feel more engaged with a sense of pride and responsibility in their work. Giving your team members the power of their own job is a great motivator. If employees feel their boss has control of their job more than they do themselves, they are likely to feel disengaged. However, giving employees a sense of ownership of their work and placing responsibility in the employee’s hands to get the job done is a highly effective engagement tool. When an employee feels the organization relies on them to be complete to a set standard, it gives a sense of value and pride.
Do you plan your days, weeks, years, or do they “happen? Do you think short-term or long-term? Do you stick to your plans strictly, or do you monitor progress and adapt as necessary?
Can you view things from different perspectives, as this is one of the most important management skills? This skill is vital for dealing with unhappy employees, suppliers who want to negotiate, or customers who may need convincing to spend money. The mission of the organization and encourages others to get behind it.
You will need to organize time, money, staff, resources, standards, training, suppliers, and your levels of patience as these are all under your specific control. Can you handle it?
As a leader, you will deal with many different personalities, different needs, and demands on your time. How you handle this will be noticed every time you have to deal with some issue, so your behavior, voice, tone, body language, and interactions must be consistent, so people will know what to expect from you. The greater your level of consistency, the greater the level of trust you will generate.
How are you at giving and receiving feedback? Do you get defensive or frustrated when receiving negative feedback? Do you get too personal when giving feedback? Feedback needs to be business and work-focused rather than personal. Avoid using “You…” or “Your performance” and use “The work” or “The level of performance.” This keeps the conversation detached from the person, so it is easier to give and receive feedback without resentment or emotion getting in the way of the message.
Do you adapt well to new situations because being flexible is one of the most important soft skills you can have? It can take courage to change your decisions, but the willingness to change is a strength rather than a weakness. Admit mistakes, find solutions and keep a level head when dealing with unexpected situations.
Do you understand what motivates people at work and raises motivation levels with encouragement rather than criticism? People are driven by different factors, some intrinsic such as they genuinely want to work well, and some extrinsic; they want rewards (money, etc.). How can you motivate people without using financial rewards? Coaching, mentoring, praising, talking, demonstrating, enquiring, following up are excellent techniques for understanding people and leading them to better things. If you build motivation into your everyday practice, you will be respected, valued, and followed by others.
If you are worried that you will not make a good leader, you will most likely make a good leader because you care about it. This means you will work hard, learn, adapt and grow into the role. Yes, there will be mistakes, some embarrassment, some awkward moments but persevere and work on the areas of doubt or insecurity. It is not an easy step for many people but sticks at t and remember, it gets easier with every experience, good or bad.
To be an effective leader, it is essential to understand what is required of you as the team leader. Take time to be proactive in evaluating individual team members and what they need from you as the leader to bring out their best. Then you could identify and design strategies to overcome what isn’t working for your team and build a positive work environment and a successful team.