I have had the privilege to work for some great and not so great leaders in my career. Yes, you read that correctly, I have been privileged to work for some not so great leaders as well. I may not have enjoyed it at the time but they taught me valuable lessons. During these times, you learn what you are made of and the type of leadership you don’t respond to as well. As a manager for many years now, these are the leadership qualities that have helped me grow as a leader and therefore translate to my successful teams.
- They aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and do what others do daily
Your teams will have a tremendous amount of respect if you are out in the field doing what they do daily. Furthermore, it carries a lot of clout when you can say you have worked previously in that role. I promise this is one of the fastest ways to earn and keep the respect of others.
- They create a great work environment
You work just as hard for your team as they will work for you. Create a work environment that is fun, inspired and upbeat. No one will like going to work every day but praise them in the good times and uplift them in the bad. Make them feel comfortable and let them be heard.
- They understand the employee experience creates the customer experience
When organizations start to understand this principle the fiber of their business will begin to change. Customers feel the environment in which a business operates and it is this energy that will keep them coming back over the competition.
- They give employees ‘roots and wings’
Employees want to know you have a vested interest in their career, both now and for the future. The best way to offer this is to show them they have ‘roots’ where they are at but the freedom and support to explore growth opportunities. Roots are created over time by doing activities outside of the cubicles. They are also created by minimizing turnover within the whole team and coming together regularly around the business and its operation. But great leaders leave the door of opportunity open and encourage employees to grow their careers. This is done by allowing them time to explore what that may look like and helping them get there.
- They compensate clearly and fairly
Compensation really comes down to a few simple factors. Be clear on how one is compensated with measurable metrics and make sure it is fair among others in that same role across the organization and industry. Again, great leadership is crucial. The number one reason for employee attrition is not usually over compensation. It is usually a correlation to the relationship with their direct manager.
- They come from a place of helpfulness
I am known to say often, “It is not what you say, but how you say it.” Delivery matters! Regular coaching and even on the spot feedback is crucial but the delivery clearly coming from a place of helpfulness is the most important part.
- They ask for input and feedback
The door is always open, as I like to say. Employees should feel they can come to you without retaliation and it is even more effective when you solicit their feedback first.
- They challenge with a clear plan
Give the gift of clarity. Far too often, employees don’t know what they are working towards or unclear on how to get there. Set a goal together and a plan on how to achieve it. Then help break that plan down into actionable steps.
- They are transparent
No more are the days of the ‘Wizard of Oz’, smoke and mirrors. Be transparent in all you do, mostly why business decisions are made and who you are. People will work harder for someone that is real and approachable.
- They acknowledge reality
Just because a leader fails to acknowledge something or a point of breakdown, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason and the best leaders listen, acknowledge reality, their own mistakes and short comings and make a plan to move forward as a team.
What about you? What are the habits that have made you successful?