Good leaders are hard to come by, but they have proven the most effective, trustworthy, and admired by their followers. A small entrepreneur that can effectively lead its team is better off than a larger company with poor leadership.
The benefits of a great leader (or leaders) can make up for the size of a company. Great leaders motivate employees to work harder, smarter, and better. That’s because employees that are treated well want to stick around and work hard to show their appreciation.
Good leaders all tend to have these similar qualities:
They take the blame
Whether the mistake is their fault or not, a strong leader steps up and takes the fall. While adjustments, corrections, and disciplinary action may take place behind closed doors, a leader steps up in the heat of the moment, when everyone is looking to place blame, and takes it. They ultimately are responsible for the actions of their employees, so it makes sense. But it also protects team members from others and allows them to be disciplined in a less embarrassing way. It also shows that leaders are willing to admit they aren’t perfect and own up to their mistakes.
They give credit to their teams/employees
When a big goal is met or a project is completed, a good leader doesn’t take the credit. They pass the credit onto their team members, who have contributed to the success. Effective leaders know that employees that feel valued will be more productive and loyal. While leaders are essential in the guidance, planning, and execution of projects and goals, employees are who make it all happen. Leaders know this and want their team members to recognize their hard work.
They give constructive criticism
Scolding an adult doesn’t result in a more effective, trusting employee. Instead, it can make them hostile, bitter, and less willing to work with the team. Instead of talking down to employees, offering constructive criticism with the intent of helping them be more successful is something that most will respond to more positively.
They take constructive criticism
Strong leaders know that they don’t know everything, and are always willing to learn. This means they are open to taking constructive criticism from their teams. This open dialogue that allows constructive criticism between employees and their leaders creates a strong feeling of trust and openness.
They recognize hard work
It’s not just giving credit to employees in a public setting that matters. If someone has been working extra hours to finish a project, that being acknowledged is a huge reward to that employee. Great leaders recognize when an employee is going the extra mile, and that recognition keeps that flame of hard work, innovation, and dedication going.
They don’t micro-manage
There may be nothing worse than having a boss who scrutinizes every tiny thing you do. We’re adults, and that’s the way we want to be treated. Micro-managing breaks employee trust, makes employees feel incompetent, and forces them to be dependent. A great leader knows that employees will make mistakes, but wants them to learn and grow and not need someone watching them all the time.
They have fun
Casual Fridays? Or casual everyday? Fully stocked breakroom, company-sponsored activities throughout the year, margarita Fridays, whatever it is they decide to do, great leaders know how to have fun. This breaks the ice for employees to get to know each other and create stronger bonds and trust, leading to a more cohesive work environment. Fun gets the innovative juices flowing too. Did you know that Facebook has a bar on every floor in its buildings to help employees relax? It’s also believed that small amounts of alcohol spark new ways of approaching a problem.
The qualities of a great leader come naturally to some, and are learned by others. For many, letting go of the micro-managing is a challenge because they want everything to be perfect. Ultimately, by being a great leader, you’ll find great employees, and likely great success.