Over the course of my life I have run across many leaders who have taught me, shaped me, and encouraged me to follow in their footsteps. The biggest lesson I have learned is that there is a major difference between being a leader and being a dictator.
We can all name at least 1 person who wears the “big shoes.” Those who are seen as the boss. But, what we really notice is if they are capable of being a leader.
One thing is certain – assigning and delivering orders isn’t leading your team. It’s a part of the job.
To be a leader you should be a number of things. But this is what I consider top priority:
As a leader, are you taking the time out of your week, or day, to understand and know who is on your team? As people are hired on as your staff what are doing to know them? I can tell you that I am more willing to work with a leader who knows me personally. Work takes up a considerable amount of my day (8 hours or more). Interacting with someone for that long, and not knowing anything about their personal life, tells your staff you don’t care about them and that they are only their to serve you and the company.
Once you get past the fantasy phase of starting a new job – the work can become mundane, repetitive, and tiresome. That happens, and it’s the leader’s job to recognize it. As a leader, you need to connect your staff back to the original reason why they started working for the company. You also need to remind them, time and time again, that their role is significant to the success of the company. Tell them WHY – not just what. Inspire them and rejuvenate their energy!
Once an employee gets a rhythm in their job – they can be hesitant to step out of that rhythm, and do more than what is asked of them without you telling them to do so. As a leader, you need to encourage them to push past their safety bubble, and really give everything they have.There shouldn’t be a culture of “fear” to where they cannot express their ideas – no matter where they are on the ladder of leadership. An idea is an idea – and any idea can benefit the company. Obviously, you want the best from your employees, and you want them to give it their all every day. Well – for that to happen you need to motivate your employees. Show them you are motivated to give it your all, and they will follow suit (the majority will at least).
At some point an employee will hit a wall. They have learned all they can for the current job performed, and need more to learn. As a leader, you are responsible to develop and train your employees – especially if you believe they are capable of doing more. You also need to push those who can certainly do more, but don’t want to.
Seeing the potential in your employees is significant as a leader, but that potential will go no where when there is no development. Potential sounds like a great word, but it’s just potential – not action. An employee can stay in the potential stage their entire life and get nothing done. It can be pulling teeth at times, but if you want to see that potential blossom, and become a moving force then you need to provide training for them to hone their skills and use them.
Being a leader requires that you model the companies vision and mission first. Leaders are the “image” of what we hope to have in our employees. If you don’t first be the model to inspire what you hope to see then you will never see it in your employees.
This article can also be reflected back to those in other leadership positions whether be at: school, church, clubs, committees, etc.
Are you truly a leader, or do you bark orders and expect them to get them done?