Great leadership doesn’t happen overnight. Some people are born with a certain type of presence and others have to work hard at it. But we all know a good leader when we see and hear one, and a bad one even faster. As you travel on your leadership journey, how do you want to be categorized by your team (1-10 on the leadership scale) and what do you need to work on to get there? Most importantly, how do you want to show up in your work world? Here are 3 questions that might help you find the right path.
1. What makes a great leader?
Think about the 5 best bosses you have had and the 5 worst. If you haven’t had that many, at least the top few. What were the things, good and bad that stood out for you?
Were they authentic? Did they have your back? Did they actually do what they said they would do? Did they listen when others spoke and value their ideas? Did they help their team learn and develop and give them opportunities to excel?
What were the things that the best leaders did (or you wished the bad ones did) that resonated with you? That made you say – I want to be like that, I want to follow that person – or not.
There are great examples through history and in front of us right now that we can emulate or revile. Which of their best characteristics would you most want to put into your leadership toolkit?
2. What makes someone want to follow you?
Do you know what your team thinks of you and do you have the courage to find out? Most companies have some type of employee survey or feedback system that you can use to get anonymous feedback. If you don’t, there are other assessments you can access online, such as the 360. You can make up your own survey or better yet just conduct your own feedback session. But be prepared to really listen and value what is given to you and make sure you aren’t defensive. The surest way to shut down honest feedback is to get angry, question what is being said and who says it.
Why is it important to ask and understand what people think of you and value in their leaders? Apart from the obvious it can help you get ahead of serious employee morale & retention issues and especially because they typically will not tell you on their own out of kindness, fear or apathy.
Most Managers are shocked to learn the truth. They have no clue what their employees think about them and their leadership style even though they think they do. If you are truly committed to being a better leader, it’s important to understand what you need to work on and most importantly, what your people need from you. It’s hard to take the feedback but it’s the only way to grow.
3. Am I the kind of leader that I would want to follow?
Quick answer, yes or no – or maybe? Not every leader is a dynamic speaker, has lots of charisma, or can tell funny jokes. Everyone has a different leadership style and that is ok, you can still be the person that people most want to follow – that you would want to follow too. What is it that makes you unique, different from any other leader? What are the strengths that you are most proud of and behaviors that you might want to minimize? What kind of leader does your team most need you to be? How many of the leadership traits that you have identified in question 1 as great, do you have or could you develop?
Courage is one of the dimensions of a great leader. Courage to hear the truth, to make the difficult decisions and to make the hard choices. People follow their leader mostly because they have to. Have the courage to become the leader that people follow, because they want to.
If you would like help improving your leadership skills, schedule a free 30 minute consultation with KPCoaching
Kathy@KPCoaching.com | 360-325-6214