“Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.” Harold S. Geneen
I decided to begin today’s article with one of the many famous quotes of Harold Geneen, American businessman, in order to create an initial perspective. Defining quality leadership becomes harder and harder. We live in complex times that are constantly on the path towards a change of some sorts. The same goes for businesses. The areas and industries are multiple nowadays and given the numerous subcategories that came into existence in the past years, being a leader today is not what it meant being a leader 100 years ago.
These being said, my question is, what came to be the qualities of a great leader in this era? What does it take, what are the required values in order to become a guide for your employees rather than a simple boss?
- Action, not words
People take a look at what they see, rather than what they hear. In an era where we are used that words don’t value that much, don’t be that kind of a leader who just throws words without meaning. Set an example, be the kind of person that you want your employees to be and then add an extra 10% to show that change and improvement are possible. Take responsibility for your decisions, be able to admit if you have made a mistake.
- People matter
People are bound to stay in places where they feel respected, valued, and most importantly, where they feel their presence makes a difference, it matters. Don’t forget that your business is built around people, it is about people. Value your employees, take the necessary time to get to know them, invest in team building activities, offer quick feedback and ask for opinions. In many cases the employees that you would expect from the least can have the brightest ideas. But how would you know if you are not aware of who they are?
- Visions and goals
In order to be able to manage your business, you need to have some sort of a vision upon it. The usual interview question, “Where do you see yourself in five years” goes for your company as well. Where do you want to be in a couple of years? And then start diving the plan, what is the target for this year, for the next 3 months and so on. Have a clear image of what you want to achieve, since nobody values uncertainty and nobody wants to work in a place that goes nowhere.
- Show passion
This goes hand in hand with being strongly self-motivated. Why having passion is so relevant? Imagine going to work each day and seeing your boss in a constant state of complain, depression, frustration. It is contagious, isn’t it? The same goes for passion. Show the passion that you want to reflect upon your employees. Show them that your business is worth being motivated for. And not just that. By being truly passionate about what you do, you constantly give yourself a push. In the times when things don’t go right, you won’t give up so easily, you will keep on fighting because of the fire that burns within you.
- Your team matters
As I stated above already, put emphasis on people. Take time to build your team and choose the perfect people that you envision yourself working with on the long term. Many times you will come to see that although experience is relevant, it might not be the most important asset. What matters is that people understand your vision, that you are on the same wave-length, that there is some passion alive in them, that there will be by your side because it’s their choice, rather because they really need that paycheck.
- Know yourself
This might sound like a cliché, but in the end it might prove to be the most important quality. Before getting started on your business journey, you have to be aware of your qualities and of your weaknesses. It’s a tough world and before asking form anyone else to be able to do hard work for you, with passion, you need to know that you are capable of doing that. Nobody is perfect, but the first step towards improvement is realizing which your weaknesses are and taking steps towards correcting them, or at least not letting them work as an impediment in your professional life. Use your qualities, put them into value in order to grow your business, to motivate your people and create an inventive work environment.
There are, of course, many other qualities that could be taken into account, I just listed a couple of basic ones, let’s call them a “starting point” qualities. Each leader is different and that what makes them so special, so don’t give up on your individuality, on what makes you who you are since that’s what brought you here in the first place!
I hope you found these ideas useful and in case you have any new ones to add, we are looking forward to knowing your perspective and we are awaiting your feedback in the comments’ section!