It’s like taking in a breath of fresh air when you come across a strong, stand-out leader among your colleagues. They are an exceptional find and invaluable to your team because not only will they lend to the success of a single department but because of them the business as a whole, benefits as well. Leaders possess skills that you can’t exactly pick out just by looking at them, you have to analyze the way they work and interact with others.
What’s even better than having strong leaders as your colleagues? When your boss is also one too. At the end of the day, a boss’s goal is to get things done but if your boss is a leader they will not only gets those things done but they will also coach, empower and motivate their team all at the same time. And the word “team” has a strong meaning to leaders because unlike bosses who tend to take all of the credit for a job well done, a leader steps back from that and brings the team into the forefront.
Despite the popular saying “you’re either born a leader, or you’re not”, you don’t in fact have to be born with the talent it takes to be a great leader, you just have to learn to understand the qualifying factors. 9gag has an awesome graphic that highlights the differences between a boss and a leader which you can find here.
So let’s find out a little more about those qualifying factors, shall we?
Relinquish Control – When appropriate, a real leader lets you run with the ball and doesn’t scold you if you come back a little scraped up. Nothing ever starts out perfect and it’s better to learn from experience than to dictate others with specific directives. It’s often how you find better ways to do things.
Offer Support – Part of being a successful leader is helping others. It becomes second nature when you view yourself and everyone else as equal parts of to the team. Why let someone struggle if you can offer advice or assistance?
Listen – Its a skill that takes patience to achieve because the most effective communication involves way more listening than talking.
Praise – A “congratulations” for a job well done goes a lot farther than you think. Recognizing someone for their efforts is important, and is more appreciated than a boss who takes all the credit for themselves.
They Take Responsibility – It’s completely normal when things don’t turn out perfect the first time around. Great leaders will be the first to admit their mistakes and look for ways to overcome them instead of opportunities to place blame.
They Challenge Ideas – A leader had a creative mind that is always churning with how things can be done better, faster and more productive for everyone. They ask questions like “why this?” and “what if?” “Is this the best way to do this?” and so on.
Give Feedback – Was there ever a time someone told you what you least wanted to hear because you needed to? Sometimes it’s not easy to hear, or easy to say for that matter, but if we want to be the best we can be we have to take it.
Set the Example – Let’s say you’re walking through the break room and you notice spilled coffee on the counter. Do you, A: Refill your coffee cup then walk back to your desk, disregarding the fact you saw it, or B: Take a moment to wipe it down before you leave the room because you know everyone uses this room and it’s best to keep it tidy. Great leaders do what they do without thinking about it and without making a fuss because they care more about “go” than “show”.
Lead Leaders – Invest in your team. Share knowledge and experience rather than hoarding it. If you give them the tools that they need to be able to lead you can sit back and reap the rewards.
And most importantly, a leader inspires. When there is a goal set and a clear vision to get there, everyone becomes part of the driving force that unites to see it through.