For many, scaling the career ladder to a position of power is the epitome of success. But being good at your day job doesn’t necessarily make you a good leader. In fact, a recent survey found that a shocking 71% of companies lack belief in their leader’s ability to guide their organisation into the future.
So, what exactly makes a good leader? There’s no simple answer, but there’s certainly particular traits that’ll help you build a successful and happy business. Here’s our top six.
1. A clear vision…
Good leaders know what they’re striving for; whether that’s to make money, have a happy workplace or change the world (or a bit of all three) – and they have both the short and long-term strategies in place to get there. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, but remembering the ultimate goal is crucial to success.
2. … that’s communicated effectively
Regular, honest communication is vital to building a strong workplace culture and keeping everyone on track to achieving the company’s goals. It’s natural that things change and don’t always go to plan – the key is in effectively communicating important messages, to both your employees and customers, on a timely basis. When it comes to good leadership, silence is most definitely not golden.
Often, the best decisions are the most difficult. Take your time weighing up the pros and cons and, once you’ve made it, wholly commit to your decision. Present your course of action and reasoning, but don’t enter into a discussion about other options. Even if not all your employees agree with you, they’ll respect your resilience and commitment – particularly once they start to see the desired results.
Know when to praise, but also when to (constructively) criticise. Being told you’re great loses its impact if said too often, and even the most senior among us want to constantly improve and feel a sense of fulfilment. The best leaders push their people to best the versions of themselves – and that can mean great things for your business, too.
Too many leaders are physically and mentally detached from their people. Consider things as simple as your workplace set-up: are you sat in an individual office, away from your teams, or in the heart of the action? Another small yet meaningful consideration is learning names – a simple ‘Hi Sue’ could be the motivation Sue needs to produce her best work yet. The most successful leaders have a genuine connection with their people and pay attention to their workplace culture, enabling them to respond to small issues before they snowball into unmanageable problems.
Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your people, and harness them to achieve the best results. Of course, a diverse workforce will always have the most vast and varied skillset, so bear this in mind when interviewing. Check unconscious bias isn’t coming into play when making candidate shortlists and think about how you could better recruit people from a range of backgrounds and experiences (hint, hint!).
If you’re a leader looking to make your workplace more diverse and inclusive, we can help. Get in touch today to find out more.