Leaders aren’t one size fits all. There are silent leaders who set the best example by what they do. There are leaders who are highly visible and vocal within businesses and organizations. There are leaders who don’t even manage a team. The list goes on and on. No matter your leadership style, there are some common characteristics associated with the most highly valued and effective leaders.
Whether you’re running a team or looking to hold a leadership position in the future, check out these tips to becoming a valued leader and work toward them daily.
There are inevitably things you can and cannot say as a leader. When you can say something, don’t shy away from the hard conversations. Instead, be as transparent as possible. If you don’t know the answer to a question, tell your team or peers that you don’t know. Then, make a commitment to find out and come back with a date or time that you’ll follow up.
“Would I rather be feared or loved? Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.” – Michael Scott, “The Office”
If you’ve seen the popular tv show “The Office,” you know that Michael Scott isn’t the greatest leader of all time. However, he has a point with this quote. Many old-fashioned perceptions of leaders involve creating a sense of fear and authority that are no longer necessary or effective to be a good leader. Instead, form relationships built on trust with your peers or team members. It’s okay to be a likable leader, as long as you’re still able to put your foot down and it doesn’t interfere with the bottom line.
Nobody is right 100% of the time, and leaders are no exception. It’s important to own up to your mistakes and lead by example. If you respect your peers and/or team enough to tell them you failed, they’ll end up respecting you in return for honesty. Follow up with what you learned from that failure and how you plan to proceed in the future.
Some of the greatest leaders were “born” when they questioned the way something was done. Innovation and pivoting when necessary are important qualities. Just because something has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean it’s efficient or effective. Embrace change when it comes your way and learn to be agile. Businesses change quickly, and the best leaders can adapt.
Life happens. While work may seem like the end of the world, remember that people have lives outside of their 9-5 job. Flat tires, sick children and other circumstances will undoubtedly arise during your time as a leader. Act with compassion when they do. Recent work from home situations have resulted in uncertain working circumstances. Show empathy and know when to be lenient with your employees.
While you should show compassion with your team, the counterpart for your work should be to show passion. When others sense that leadership is interested in the work, it trickles down… and vice versa. If you show up day in and day out unenthusiastically, the same demeanor is sure to rub off on others who absorb it like a sponge.
No matter how you choose to lead, start with humanity above all else. People want to follow someone they can relate to and trust. To be a leader, be yourself and have the confidence to take charge without overstepping or micromanaging. With these tips, you’re on the right path to becoming a better and more valued leader.