How to be a Great Leader in Good and Tough Times:

4 Rules of Leadership Greatness

Over the years watching some leaders struggle, while others thrive, one thing is apparent:  Good leaders are hard to find and the wrong leader can lead to long-term damage.

Good leaders attract, retain and surround themselves with top talent, higher productivity and a competitive edge through both good and challenging times.  Inadequate leaders tend to lose good employees, attract lower quality employees and cause long-term damage to an organizations culture, growth and productivity.

It’s a big topic, but here are four things great leaders do that set them apart:

 

1. Leadership attitude. Great leaders have an innate ability to be followed by others that stems from their ability to make others feel important.  Great leaders see everyone as valuable to the team and they take time to get to know and understand their team on an individual level. This attitude creates loyalty which leads to an enthusiastic, engaged, highly productive team. And, when it comes time to change direction or make a challenging call, these foundational relationships set help to activate the needed change.

  • Leadership should be from the view that everyone is an adult, everyone is intelligent and everyone wants to be successful. People are going to communicate or approach problems differently.   Great leaders see these differences as strengths and use it to their advantage.

 

2. When your attitude is that you feel like you’re the “boss” and the most important part of your organization, go back and read rule #1 and remember that great leadership, out of necessity, develops in relation to people.  It is not about you.

 

3. Communication.  Know your team and constantly communicate the “opportunity” and what it means to each individual.

  • Set clear expectations and clarify and communicate regularly to align teams to a common goal(s).  Teams that have “politics” and damaging internal dynamics can be fixed with a strong leader who focuses the team on a few common goals (and away from the internal politics).  Rallying the troops includes setting clear expectations around those goals in a way that’s meaningful to each individual.
  • What are the top 3 things each individual needs to do to achieve success in their role?  Do they know that? Individuals who work for great leaders consistently know what their role is and what they need to do to achieve success. When’s the last time you spoke with each person on your team to help them understand what will help them achieve success? Great leaders also don’t let people get caught up in “busy work” or doing the wrong things that doesn’t translate into their success or the company’s success.
  • People don’t resist ideas that they think are their own.  Are all the good ideas yours?   As leader of the team, it is in your best interests to foster an environment where it’s encouraged for everyone to share and brainstorm ideas and solutions.  Then execute and recognize them for those good ideas.  You will win their loyalty and encourage more and better ideas.
  • Listen, observe, instruct and question.  The most effective way to influence people is to first listen for understanding.
  • Give feedback from the perspective of what’s going to be best for them as it relates to their personal motivations or goals.

 

4. Lead by example.  Set an example of what you want your people to be.

  • Are you aligned and supportive of the company expectations, vision and goals?
  • Do you lead with honest and integrity?
  • Be the first to extend trust to your people.  Not blind trust, but rather smart trust with clear expectations and regular communication.  If you want to build the speed and productivity that comes from trust, you first have to give it.
  • Step back and walk in their shoes.

 

The bottom line is that great leaders hold themselves accountable for the success of their team while poor leaders are the ones we often hear making excuses and blaming others as to why things didn’t work out.  Learn from it.  Remember that your people’s shortcomings are you own inability to influence, train, develop and motivate.   Greatness is there; your challenge is to lead them to it.

 

-Chris Birch

Recruitment Consultant at Recruitment Partners