Qualities of a Good Leader: How to Know if You Are a Good Boss; or How to Know if You Have a Good Boss
One of my clients came out of a very difficult job situation about 4 months ago. The culture at her former company was cliquish and punishing. The leadership always had someone in the “one-down” or “outsider” role.
My client was in that outsider role almost from the start of her employment. As a result she’s healing from PTSD in a new position where the leadership is supportive and follows a mentoring model as they grow their new employee’s strengths.
Because my client is sometimes skeptical about the intentions of her supervisor and the leadership (as in “Is this new situation too good to be true? Will this positive behavior on the part of my boss last?” which is normal when you have had an abusive boss) Sarah and I re-evaluate her boss or supervisor’s responses each time she has a concern.
What we are looking for is CONSISTENCY in the behavior and response of the leadership. She now has four months of consistent response which I consider a “new history.” My client is beginning to trust that her boss and the leadership in this company actually “walk their talk.” They do what they say and say what they mean.
She’s starting to breathe more easily and she’s learning from their example. I think my client is actually going to make a great leader herself one day!
Lead By Example
Good leaders must lead by example. Through their actions, which are aligned with what they say, they become a person others want to follow. When leaders say one thing but do another, they erode trust, a critical element of productive leadership. Here are some of the of ways to lead by example.
- Be Consistent. This is number one and applies to the next eleven qualities on this list. Consistency of who you are and how you respond will lead to trust of you and engender trust among your team.
- Take responsibility. Blame costs you your credibility, keeps team members on the defensive and ultimately sabotages real growth.
- Be truthful. Inaccurate representation affects everyone. Show that honesty really IS the best policy.
- Be courageous. Walk through fire (a crisis) first. Take calculated risks that demonstrate commitment to a larger purpose.
- Acknowledge your mistakes. It makes it OK for your team to do the same and defines failure as part of the process of becoming extraordinary.
- Be persistent. Focus on the Results, not the personalities. Try, try again. Go over, under or around any hurdles to show that obstacles don’t define your company or team.
- Create solutions and teach others. Teach to their strengths. Don’t dwell on problems; instead be the first to offer solutions and then ask your team for more. If they don’t know, take the time to teach them. Everyone will benefit.
- Listen. Ask questions. Seek to understand. You’ll receive valuable insights and set a tone that encourages healthy dialogue.
- Delegate and support the results. Even if it’s done in a different style than your own, encourage an atmosphere in which people can focus on their core strengths.
- Take care of yourself. Exercise, don’t overwork, take a break. A balanced team, mentally and physically, is a successful team. Model it, encourage it, support it!
- Roll up your sleeves. Like Alexander the Great leading his men into battle, you’ll inspire greatness in your company.
- Be a little human. As a leader it’s tricky to socialize too much, but it’s okay to share a little of your life, your quirks, your outside interests; and wonderful to know a little about your team’s life too.
Author’s content used under license, © 2011 Claire Communications