What makes a great leader?
We’ve all heard the mantra that employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers. This is backed up by research: Investors in People discovered that the top five reasons employees decide to leave include management issues, feeling unvalued, and career progression. As a leader, these are all within your control.
Not all managers are good leaders. But if you get it right, you’ll build an effective, supportive team that people enjoy working in. In turn, it’ll make your life easier.
So, how can you become a good leader? Here are MasterSearch’s top four ideas on what makes a great leader and not a second-rate leader.
Build trust through authenticity, openness, and honesty
Building trust starts with listening. Active listening involves concentrating on what the other person is saying, understanding it and then responding appropriately.
Active listening makes it easier to respond authentically and honestly. It shows your team you’re on their side and respect their ideas and perspective. By learning more about your team, you’ll be better able to understand the problems each individual is dealing with in the field. You can then apply your knowledge and experience to help them build the confidence they need to overcome these issues.
Remember you won’t build trust overnight: trust needs to be earned. Following through on promises, and ensuring your words and actions match will start to build your trust quota.
Act like a leader: lead from the front
Dare we say it –it’s easy to get carried away by your own ambition. But it’s no longer all about you. Now it’s about the team.
It’s a cliché, but lead by example. Do you want to promote a proactive atmosphere and avoid blame culture? Then own your mistakes. When your team members inevitably make mistakes, take a pragmatic approach instead of pointing fingers. Want to foster a collaborative environment and avoid employees jealously guarding knowledge? Share your own knowledge. Want your team to keep chasing success? Then encourage and celebrate their successes, no matter how small.
Use those active listening skills. If you’re actively interested in your team and take a collaborative, problem-solving approach, it’ll rub off on the team.
Develop your team members
What makes a good leader great is how they empower others. One way you can do this is through being a thoughtful mentor and helping employees develop. Industry 4.0 is in the midst of a talent crisis. Far better to identify the potential in your employees and help them develop to the next level than look externally.
Career trajectories are not always linear. While some team members might be aiming for the top, others might want to develop technical skills. Others are adept at interpersonal skills.
It’s easy to assume employees want to develop in one particular direction. But pushing them along a route they aren’t interested in is just a precursor to pushing them out the door. Instead, use those listening skills to identify the direction they’re going in, and help them get there.
Articulate a clear vision
A vision is the strategy and goals you have for your company and team. But they don’t just belong in your head: you need to share them with those who’ll help you get there. If you explain what you’re aiming for, and why, then you’re much more likely to attract buy-in from your team.
It all comes down to how you communicate. Focus on one message and avoid overcomplicating it. The more concrete your vision, the better. If you can describe what a successful outcome looks like, it’ll be easier for your team to visualise it and take their first steps in that direction.
Clarity and communication are important whatever is currently going on in your company. But they’re especially important when going through change management.
Do you have any other ideas about what makes a great leader? Let us know in the comments below!
Great leaders need great team members. If you’re in the automotive or industrial sector and looking for your next great hire, then get in touch with MasterSearch. We’re dedicated to making your job easier and supporting you across your entire business. Get in touch on +44 207 101 9623 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.