If I could describe a ‘good leader’ in a sentence, I shall say that a good leader is simply not a ‘boss.’ Every organization thrives on its leaders, they decide the fate of the company. In fact, many times when people leave their jobs, they are not really leaving the job, they are leaving their bosses. So if you have a company and you observe a pattern of a lot of people quitting their jobs, it’s time for some self-reflection and also time to skim through the management and throw in a few feedback sessions for the employees. When it comes to being a good leader, no other name comes to mind than the almighty Michael Scott from ‘The Office.’ He is everything that a good leader needs to be and more. So please excuse me if I add a couple of Michael Scott references in this article. To begin with, he once said that “the term boss now is just slang for a jerk in charge” which stands pretty true. So if you want to be a good leader the basic idea is to not be a boss.
You can take a glance at the “Learn and Use the 10 Positive Habits All Great Leaders Have” online tutorial for that. The course elaborates on the skills you need to possess in order to lead your team and achieve your goals. It comes with 1.5 hours of video and covers 11 major sections such as how to inspire teams, dealing with crises and dissidents, advantages of being liked over fear, and many more.
Now, to elaborate on the point of not trying to be a boss more, here are some more qualities that a great leader should possess.
1. A good leader’s respect relies on the goodwill
Leaders or bosses often expect their employees to respect them and treat them in a special way. Which is not really wrong, but the way you receive it really matters. Making up a set of rules about what name should the employees call you by, or asking them to always ask them before making any decision, or forcing them to perform certain gestures like asking them to stand up and greet you before you enter the room. All these might make you feel like they respect you but it’s exactly the opposite, in reality. So to get respect, you need to earn it, through your behavior and actions. Don’t ask for it.
2. A good leader does not command his employees
Basically, a good leader does not have the ‘my way or the highway’ attitude. When he takes meetings with his team, he listens to everybody’s inputs while rationally analyzing each and not just blindly following them. The employees will always have a very fresh, non-stern, perspective on things. So use it to your advantage. On the other hand, leaving everything to your employees is also not a good idea. Don’t rely on them to come up with great ideas when you cannot. That’s unfair.
Also, don’t command them, you’re a leader, not a boss. They technically don’t owe you anything. So have a modest & a polite tone when you speak to your team. It’s just basic human decency, to be honest. As we were taught when we were little, use the magic words! Please, sorry and thank you.
3. A good leader says ‘Let’s Go’ instead of ‘Go!’
Leaving all your burden on your employees is a no-no if you want to be a good leader. Don’t just push deadlines on your team, devise a plan, and walk with them, through it, check progress with every step while also giving them the freedom of work. When you’re with the employees at every step, if the plan gets stuck somewhere, you will have a very clear idea about how to solve the issue, instead of being clueless and bursting off on them. So to be a good leader, treat yourself like an employee, be an equal part of the team. Show them how it’s done instead of telling them what to do. Say ‘Let’s Go’ and not ‘Go’ your employees are not your trained dogs.
4. A good leader gives credit
When something works out and if the highest authority gives you some credit, share it with your team. Cause even if you were a guiding light, the actual hard work that has been put in, is by your team members. So make sure everyone gives a big round of applause to them. And don’t ever play the blame game, learn to take responsibility as a representative of your team. Be hasty to share and credit and greedy to take the blame for your team. When something goes wrong, do not just plainly blame your employees for screwing up, take a hit for your team, sit with them and figure out what went wrong, and what you could’ve done to change it, and the measures that you will be taking from now on for it to not repeat. Even if internally, if someone is performing well in the team, appreciate them. Rewarding increases team productivity and motivation.
5. A good leader empowers and coaches his employees
Do not just use your employees for the skills they possess. I don’t mean to be too poetic here; it is understood and in the end, it’s not a family, it is a company that works on revenue. But the leader’s approach really matters. When your team is working on a project, truly train your employees and their skills not just on a base level, for the sake of a success story. Work on their skills, empower them and push them towards growth. Use your expertise and experience and coach them through lessons that they can take with them even after they leave your company. If you come across any course, they can take or an article they should read, forward ti to them. When you learn something new, let them know what it is and how it can help them.
6. A good leader says ‘We’ instead of ‘I’
A good leader walks with the entire team. He doesn’t use phrases like ‘I think you should do this next!’ As they say, there is no ‘I’ in a team. So start speaking in terms of ‘We’ and not ‘I’ not just while speaking but also in action. If some days the workload is too much and your employees have to do overtime, you need to stay along with them, no matter how long it takes. You are a part of the team. Involve your employees in every decision you make, in every success you achieve, and also in every loss you incur. Whatever it is, we as a team are responsible for it be it good or bad.
7. A good leader generates enthusiasm
It is common for bosses to set deadlines, which they think ensures more productivity. But instead of generating fear of deadlines in order to get the work completed. Try thinking on the lines of what’s in it for them? If you were an employee what would get you excited about completing those tasks. The reward could be in the form of incentives or praise or maybe even an appraisal or a bonus. But genuinely get them excited about doing their work. Instead of having them do it only cause it’s a part of the job. Try not delegating deadlines as much as you can. Stick to just enthusiasm.
8. A good leader keeps his employees happy
In the words of Michael Scott, “in the end, it’s all about keeping the troops happy.” Know that your employees can make or break your business. So keeping them happy is important but also, having some fun is just as important. All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy! Do non-work activities frequently. For eg, Yoga day just went by, set up a yoga boot camp, celebrate all birthdays, have an annual sports day, where you can get competitive and play games in some ground, have quarterly picnics, or have an annual funny award ceremony! Even in the day-to-day functioning of work, keep it light. Energies really matter, so try to keep the environment light and happy. Have some morning or break time routine where you can play some songs and dance, or play passing the pass, or anything, you name it. Just make sure it’s not all work. Trust me, it will only motivate them to work harder!
9. A leader knows his team and is unbiased
Irrespective of the size of your team, it is important to know your team members by their names and their personalities. You cannot just call out, ‘hey you, the guy with the white shirt!’ You need to know their names and their qualities. It will help you in delegating tasks, you will know if a particular person enjoys writing more than put him for some social media content task. If a person is good at conversations, let him make sales calls or customer relationship management.
While getting to know your employees, you need to make sure you are unbiased towards all your employees and you treat them all equally. Don’t have favorites, it is a strict no-no. It will divide the team for no reason.
10. A good leader is also a good Influencer
I repeat ‘Influencer’ and not a ‘manipulator.’ You need to have immense power in your words, not through authority but through empathy. The power of influencing people comes from being in their shoes completely. So talk in terms of what they want and not what you want. A good influencer gets everything that he wants while also not making the other person used or worthless. So, learn that skill.
Between all this, it is also necessary to understand that you are running a business, and profits are the ultimate aim of any business. So work hard and play hard. It is important to maintain a healthy balance between both. Leadership, however, is a passion, it’s something most people are born with or some people are trained to be. You should be able to spring up on your feet and take control when needed. Being a leader, you need to put twice the amount of hard work and commitment in your brand than your employees do. A leader does not mean you get to throw out orders and leave whenever you want to. The way you dress also plays an important role to become a good leader. You should if possible dress like a boss while having the qualities of a leader! That’s all for becoming a good leader!
If you are new to leadership and want to create an excellent impression on your team, you can also have a look at the “Building a Foundation For Leadership Success” online course. The course comes with 5.5 hours of video and covers topics such as creating a positive pattern, define your operating systems, simple goal settings, turning dreams to goals and much more.
How many of these do you think you have in yourself? Let us know in the comments below!