There are many things I can write about regarding how to be a good leader however I will touch on just a few things we tend to forget.
We have all known arrogant leaders and we have known those with humility. Throughout my career I have taken the opportunity to observe those around me and ask myself – “What can I learn from this person’s behavior and management style?” Many times it was positive behavior, and many times it was not. We can learn just as much and sometimes more from poor behavior. We learn what not to do! We can learn from Leadership Teams, supervisors, fellow colleagues and our clients we meet and serve.
Hiring people smarter than you is a positive step. Smart employees keep you on your toes and you learn from them – because remember – it’s the entire Leadership “team” that provides experience and skills required to be successful.
It is important to realize as a leader, you do not always have all the right answers. If you are wrong – you are human – just admit you are wrong and do something about it. Some leaders think they have to be right all the time and they are not able to admit they are wrong or listen to their team for ideas. Having a strong team is the pathway to success. Commitment, trust, communication, taking responsibility for one’s own actions and knowing when to ask for help, coupled with accountability, healthy conflict, being results driven, respectful and yes, having a good sense of humor are all good traits of a strong team.
Praise Your Team
A good leader values their employees’ ideas and talents. However, knowing that you value your employees is not enough – you need to tell them. If you can’t tell them – do you have the right employee – if not, why are they there? Take a look at your organizational chart and ask yourself – “Will these people take our business to where I want it to be in the future? Can they help drive our vision?” When hiring your leadership team you should always be asking yourself these questions. In addition, will they groom a successor and can they be mentored to carry out the strategic initiatives to meet set goals and objectives going forward and can they succeed their superior. Every employee does not need to be a successor – remember the foundation is built on those who do good work but may not be good leaders.
Those who know me well are aware I can have strong opinions but; I listen to others as well. As a leader, we ultimately make the decisions affecting our business, but if we hire the right people they will share strong opinions that will affect the business decisions as well. If someone continually agrees with me and I know they may have an equal or better idea than I and they don’t speak up, then the company is undoubtedly not operating at its highest potential. An author once wrote, “If you and I always agree then one of us is no longer needed – and I am not going anywhere. If I can intimidate someone, they ought to be intimidated. If they are not strong and secure enough in themselves, they probably don’t fit and need to go.”
You want your leadership team to respectfully challenge you because through challenging each other greatness is experienced. As a leader of the group, you make the final decision and are accountable to that decision. It is however wise to have your team’s input too. Strong opinions that are expressed by you and your team can be very valuable; as long as everyone is respectful and the team supports the final decision when speaking to staff and clients.