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7 Signs of a Great Leader

Chances are in your career you’ve worked for people who weren’t such great leaders.  And some of you have been lucky enough to actually work for great leaders.  if you’ve been one of the fortunate ones, you’ll probably recognize some (or all) of the signs of great leader as we work our way through them.

Regardless of whether or not you have worked for either, you’ve certainly been around both types.  You know when someone is a true leader and when they have been put in a leadership position without the effective leadership skills to perform.  In fact, if you sat down and thought about it, you’d probably come up with several of the signs of a great leader, even if you’ve never worked for one.

Not all great leaders are born that way.  In fact, most of the time effective leadership is learned over time and with experience.

So, if you’ve been in a leadership role for a while, this list is a great refresher on the skills you should be continuing to hone.  If you’ve been placed in a new leadership role or are trying to get there, take this list and apply it to your own career in the coming years.  If you can master this list, you’ll be well on your way to going far.

7 Signs of a Great Leader:

Give credit where credit is due

If you’re wondering how to be a great leader and looking for a good place to start.  You’ve found it.  Good leaders recognize that the employees on their team need recognition.

How do you feel when you come in and solve a problem no one else on the team can do and your boss takes all of the credit for it?  Probably not so good.  And a happy team performs better than an unhappy one, right?

Time and again recognition is one of the top things employees rate as necessary in job surveys.  Your company put you in the role you’re in because they recognize your skills.  So have the confidence in your skills and build your team up to have the same confidence in theirs.

Keep a positive attitude

There are going to be times in your career where things are hard.  Maybe your company will go through a re-organization.  Or you will have a particularly tough client pushing you on a difficult project.

As a leader, it’s your job to keep your team motivated to do the best job they can do.  And when the job gets tough, your team will need a cheerleader to get them through it.  Great leaders understand this and stay positive through the toughest of situations.

Inspire your team to do their best

Strong leaders inspire others.  Some leaders choose to use fear and intimidation to get the job done.  But great leaders understand that you cannot truly lead from that way.  You’ve got to start by building a positive employee culture.

If you’re constantly holding something over your employees’ heads, they may get the job done.  But it probably won’t be their best work.  A good leader knows that good ideas can come from anywhere.  And good ideas are fostered when a leader supports their team and builds them up.

Get to know your team

This goes hand in hand with the last one.  As a great leader, you need to demonstrate true care for your team.  So get to know them.  This doesn’t mean you should be best friends, but you should have knowledge about them and be genuinely interested in their overall well-being.

Also, it’s important to keep your door open for constructive feedback and always be ready to listen.  Your employees are on the front lines with you.  And if you’ve been doing a good job at leading, chances are their feedback will be for the good of the team.

True leaders delegate well

One of the best signs of a great leader is delegation. In fact, the first rule of leadership should be No Micromanaging!  Good leaders rely on their teams to get the job done.  Yes, different people may accomplish that job differently, but as long as the job is getting done and is on-point, the “how” isn’t important.

Build your team with people who are knowledgeable, trustworthy and work hard.  If you hire the right people, you simply need to trust their skills and your hiring capability.

Work with integrity

Doing your job in an ethical manner is critical.  If you are leading a team of people, it becomes even more critical.  A team will learn from and emulate their leader.  And that’s definitely one thing you don’t want to pass on to your team.

Other than being outright morally wrong, working in an unethical manner puts your team, your job and your entire company at risk.

Adapt to change easily

Change is inevitable.  If you can adapt to change easily, you will go far in your career.  And if you oversee a team, it’s even more important.

While change is inevitable, it can also be scary to many people.  As a leader, if you can adapt easily and find the good in change, it will also help your team adapt more easily.

This means that change will be less likely to impact the amount, and quality, of work your team can accomplish.  And if your team sees you overcoming change and keeping a positive attitude, they will be more likely to do the same.  And who doesn’t want to work with happy people?