The saying, “you are born with it” can only go so far when it comes to being a leader. While I do believe it is easier for some to have these traits of a great leader than others; I firmly believe that anyone that works hard enough and has a true desire to help people can become a magnificent leader.
Being sincere is very hard for people especially when we live in a dog-eat-dog world. It is often hard to care for the benefit of others when we are trying to get ahead in life. A true leader sincerely cares for others and is willing to sacrifice for the greater good even when it may not be of their best interest personally. For the most part, if you are able to just forget yourself for a portion of your day you can learn to be more genuine in what you do. Don’t sweat the small stuff, step back and look at the big picture.
People, employees, friends and anyone else we come in contact want to feel like they are valued and have contributed to the success of a goal or project. I believe this is where true friendship and respect is built. If someone feels like the other person is taking credit for something they did not contribute to there will always be a void in the respect that is given. I’ll even take it a step further. Leaders that give credit to the team when really it was the leader that performed the task will build more respect and trust faster than they would any other way. Looking back at the many different leaders I have dealt with in my life the ones that can give praise and credit were the ones I would take a bullet for and work harder than they ever asked.
Leaders that can give service to those around themselves is worth more to a business or an organization than the most talented employee out there. People don’t care how good you are at something if you can’t show empathy and compassion for others. Service does not need to be so extravagant that you can’t get anything done during the day, but it needs to be meaningful. Meaningful can take many shapes and forms and could be as simple as bringing someone’s favorite drink in the morning, helping out with some simple paperwork to clear off their desk or just simply taking the time to talk to an employee during the day that needs to vent. The little things are the things that will push your employees and people around you to do great things.
This attribute is a very important one because it takes on a few different faces. First a good leader must be able to recognize when they have made a mistake. Whether it was their fault or not they must recognize it is a mistake and make right by it. This can be very hard because most leaders have a high level of confidence and whether they are right or wrong they are going to push forward and make it work. If they would learn to humble themselves and pivot they could fix the mistake in no time and get back on track.
The second part of this attribute is being able to take the fall for the whole team and not just for their personal mistakes. “Employees love taking the fall and feeling like it was their decision that caused it”…said no employee ever. If a leader does not attach themselves to the mistakes of the team then the employees will never feel like they can give credit to their leaders during times of success. There will always be that sour taste in their mouth.
A leader that knows how to have fun will win the hearts of the people they work with. This is a tough situation for some because there is a line they have to walk with having the right kind of fun and having fun that could damage the teams relationship or productivity. There is a huge problem arising with millennials not being able to stay at a job for a long period of time. The old tradition use to be that you would pick a career and stick to it until you retired, but now we have a hard enough time staying with the same job for more than a year. I am not saying all of this issue stems from this, but a good portion of it does. Creating a fun and energetic culture is critical to retention. There are many businesses that get this right and have great retention rates, but it can’t only just be a fun job it has to be a rewarding one too!
If you have learned anything from this article I hope it is that you want to be the type of leader you would want to follow. I hope that you will take a minute to reflect and think what are you doing well and what things are you lacking. Even take a few moments to think what does my team need and how am I fulfilling it? These changes can start now! They don’t have to be huge steps but being just a little bit better than yesterday is good enough. Strive to be a great leader each day. Whether you lead one or hundreds be the person they need. True leaders don’t always look the same as what the general public pictures and that is ok by my book.