Great leadership is an attribute that can be difficult to pin down. It’s easy to recognize a great leader when you’re under one, but once you become a leader yourself it can be difficult to understand what it was about them that made them so effective and great in the first place.
Research shows that today’s employees want more out of their leaders and jobs. In fact, our increasingly educated workforce is prompting employees to want more out of the paycheck they receive. They’re not interested in punching clocks and pushing pencils. Instead, they’re looking for roles where they can actually have an influence. What’s more, they’re looking for leaders who will empower them with the confidence and motivation needed to bring about change and success. Instead of supervisors who drag the company to success on their own, they want managers to harness their own skills and help them apply them to a goal that will bring about change. In short, they want Nick Fury, not Tony Stark.
Of course, no one at the office is expecting you to turn your team into the Avengers; but still, you can hedge your bets on the fact that they are hoping to work under a leader, not an overseer.
To make sure you’re being the ultimate driving force behind your team, consider these 4 tips on what all great leaders do.
They Share A Compelling Mission
Having a sound mission statement isn’t just good house cleaning practices for businesses, it’s a necessary procedure for leaders too. Great leaders regularly work to lead employees closer to an overall purpose. If an employee senses that the vision and purpose their leaders have for them is to only make a profit, they wouldn’t feel inspired and will ultimately resist contributing to a team.
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Studies have shown that in order for people to feel connected with their work, they have to be able to envision themselves working towards and achieving a purpose. An astute leader nurtures an employee’s desire to make a difference by connecting the dots for them on how their work is making a direct impact on a business’s performance. Engage and encourage your team to always be on top of their game by mapping out their key performance indicators of their role and showing them how they align with the overall key performance indicators and objectives of your business. Not only will they have a better reason to stay engaged and invested in their work, they’ll also focus more on how well they deliver it.
Take Time To Themselves
Part of being a great leader requires the recognition of the value of self-improvement. To truly unlock the potential of your team and drive them to success, as a leader you must take the time to reflect on the ways in which your behaviors and habits affect the performance of your company. For some, the answer to this might be as simple as implementing stronger health and fitness habits. For others, it could mean taking the time to relax by seeking entertainment or meditation. This time to yourself will help you to keep your mind clear when it’s time to tackle any issues your team puts in front of you. What’s more, it will also give you a chance to chip into water cooler conversations about current popular shows such as Game of Thrones or Westworld.
They Articulate Their Vision Clearly
A hallmark of a great leader is their ability to paint a vivid picture of the future. Open and clear communication is a crucial driver of employee engagement. To effectively get your message, concerns, and desires across to all the ranks, you must be able to articulate the true intent of the messages you present to your employees. Therefore, goals and objectives must be communicated and repeated frequently so that everyone on board has a thorough understanding of their role in your game plan and what success looks like to you.
They’re Both Optimistic And Realistic
A major challenge every leader faces is striking the right balance between maintaining a sense of positivity in the office while also being realistic about their goals. Having a pessimistic outlook on the performance of your team and the future of your company will always bring down morale in the office. While it’s good to be open and honest with your team when things aren’t going right, it’s always best to err on the side of positivity when you deliver your desire for better performance when things aren’t going as planned. Don’t panic and tell them you’re on a sinking ship, but don’t tell them all will be fine once the storm blows over. Instead, stir them into action by letting them know that now is the time that you will need their help the most. Ready your team, adjust the sails and keep moving your ship forward. A healthy dose of buoyancy and realism will always keep your operation on course.