As followers we take our cues from our leaders. Those that are great make us feel valued. They listen to what we say, they ask for our opinions and they care that we show up to work, not just to make them look good but to make us feel good.
As a leader, we feel our worth when we can produce results. But, a great leader will get results not through people but with people, gaining trust and respect along the way, finding they never have to ask for help, it is given freely.
I have read too many explanations and definitions of great leadership to count but they all seem to have the same five attributes.
- knowing who you are, what you stand for and how your actions affect others, good and bad; knowing your actions will be a model for others and set a tone for the workplace
- being true to your word and deed, doing what is right even when no one else is watching, enabling others to do what they do best
- inspiring others to see the bigger picture and understand how what they do adds to the greater cause, holding people accountable for their actions
- challenging the status quo, never being happy with “that is the way we have always done it” and expecting bigger and better from everyone around you, thanking people for thinking outside the box and trying new things at every opportunity
- paying it forward by mentoring and coaching those who report to you and influencing continued growth and development of everyone to be their best (chances are people will achieve greater things than they knew were possible if motivated by a great leader)
In my experience working with leaders, great is not an adjective I would use for most. If great leaders have all of these attributes and bad leaders have none, the majority of leaders will have some of these attributes.
Be honest. If not with me, then with yourself. When is the last time you held a mirror up and ask yourself, “how am I doing?”, “what do my employees see in my leadership?”, “how could I be better, even great?”
How do you stack up?