So, what makes a great leader?
Do we learn to be a great leader or are we just born to lead?
These are all questions I regularly get asked as I work with business owners wanting to improve the outcomes in their businesses.
This month we are having a focus on helping those in our community to become better leaders and this article will address these questions.
According to a survey conducted and reported in the Daily Mail six out of 10 workers are miserable. Dig into the surveys and you’ll find that the quality of leadership is at the top of the list of complaints.
If you want to grow your business and scale your business to a point where you are not required to work in it and you still make good money from it, then you will need great staff. You will not get great staff unless you have a great leader out the front. Initially in your business you will need to be this great leader and then, as your business scales, you will need to find great leaders to support you.
“People don’t need to be managed; they need to be unleashed.” - Richard Florida
“Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves." - Stephen Covey
You're there to help your team to think in a way that:
This form of high-impact leadership encourages innovative thinking and empowers the team to ‘own’ not just their own performance but also the outcomes for the entire team.
In summary, leaders need to learn how to improve people’s ability to think.
Many team members are highly capable individuals who will thrive on this approach. Employees want to work smarter; they want to be smarter, they want to succeed, and they want to thrive. Employees want to feel genuinely fulfilled by what they do because it means something to them; having meaning and having contributed beyond ourselves gives us a sense of belonging and achievement.
A good day is not ‘getting through the day’. A good day is not ‘it can only get better’.
A good day is one where the team member knows that what they did made a difference and they were capable under pressure of achieving a positive result. Give your team that, and you will be amazed at what’s possible.
I believe that while some people are born with a natural ability to lead, it is also a skill that can be taught and improved as we mature and our emotional intelligence increases. Great leadership is essential in business if you are wanting to scale your business and grow a team of people who are going to be inspired to help you build your vision.
John Maxwell said, “A Great Leader's Courage to fulfill their Vision comes from passion, not position.''
Often, we hear business people demanding respect from their employees because they are the owner or a manager and they should be respected because of their position. While this may be true that is not what a true leader would expect. It is your passion and actions that people are inspired by not your title or authority.
People may do what they are told because you have authority but that is not leadership, leadership is when people follow and excel because they believe in you, your vision, your example and your passion.
So, let’s look at some of the essential requirements that we need to have as a leader in your business to ensure that your staff see you as a true leader. Are you displaying these attributes in your organization?
1. Take Responsibility
Leaders never blame. They never make excuses. They always learn what they can and move on to the next big thing. Take responsibility for yourself and if you’re ready – for your team as well.
2.Learn how to give and GET great feedback
Leaders are open to getting real feedback. People have the difficult conversations with leaders because they know they’ll be heard. They know that change will happen because the feedback is truly valued.
3. Leave your shit at the door
Leaders leave their personal life at the door. You’ll never know when a leader is having a bad day. They do what they need to do and support the people that need help. (That said every leader still needs somewhere and someone to support them)
4. Take care of yourself – be the example of health and well being
Leaders are among the healthiest and most disciplined members of our society. They take care of themselves so that when it counts, they have the energy and mental stamina they need to perform.
5. Acknowledge the strengths of the people around you
You don’t have to know everything. You don’t need to be great at everything. You do need to know your team’s strengths and weaknesses so that you can harness the full potential of your team.
6. Delegate – your team will develop faster with opportunities to learn and grow
Hanging onto responsibility and tasks, isn’t good for you or your team. You get bogged down and your team doesn’t get their chance to shine. Start small and keep giving them more and more responsibility. Don’t be afraid to let go of control.
7. Acknowledge your failures
Leaders don’t need to be perfect. How you recover from your failures will become your biggest differentiator. Learn to be great at recovering. Learn to be humble.
8. Listen, Ask Questions, Seek to Understand
Listen. Give people your presence. You are never too busy to hear something important. Seek to understand before you give advice or make a decision.
9. Be Consistent in your words and actions
We live in a rapidly changing world. Let your behaviour, attitude and actions be a constant in a whirl of change. That doesn’t mean that you don’t change your mind or change your path when it is required, but it means you do what you say you will do or you calmly communicate the reasons why a change or pivot is required.
10. Teach others how to lead and encourage a culture of leadership development
Nothing is more rewarding than creating the next generation of leaders. They influence so many people and create some of the most incredible outcomes. Leadership is a gift. Pass it on to someone else.
You’ve got to bring the attitude of ‘I’m here to learn so my team can grow. I will continue to learn to ensure I am not holding my team back, and then I’ll learn some more, so they can stand on my shoulders’.
I hope this helps you understand why you need to be a great leader in your business and the key elements of what makes a great leader.
If you want to take our online survey below we can give you some feedback on your performance as a leader in your organisation.
If you need guidance to grow your business or if you are planning to Buy or Sell your business