There has never been a time like it in history, where the explosion of corporate expansion has led to the constant need for great leaders. Where companies have grown in size to match the economies of a small country, the prize of a truly great leader has never been so important nor so highly rewarded.
If you are a leader yourself, or are looking to recruit a top leader to manage a team, here are 4 characteristics you should be constantly looking for and developing:
Reflect and model the behaviours you feel are important. Lead by making the changes you see need to be made and stand by these changes as if they are a personal conviction. If you want your team to behave in a certain way, then you have to be willing to demonstrate by example and expect to be challenged. You set the tone of the business environment.
Establish a purpose to believe in and let others see this is what is expected of them. Highlight the importance of their roles, and be specific about their skill-sets and where you see the opportunity for their development. Illustrate what success will look like for them, as well as for the organisation. How the advantage of having a positive attitude to solve problems will raise their professional capital and their self-esteem. Outline clearly how their position connects with the outcome.
Sometimes being obvious works neatly into time frames and objectives, especially where multiple partners or teams are being managed. However, being subtle in your approach, especially when dealing with inexperienced managers, can also be extremely effective.
Allowing people to discover their answers or experience their mistakes can be an invaluable learning process.
Watch for the rhetorical questions, the statements that contemplate – and then lead through a line of questioning that sets a path of discovery. Remember that the ideas and answers that you uncovered for yourself are still some of the greatest moments of transformation you have had, so why deny anyone else the opportunity to experience these moments for themselves.
This simple concept goes hand-in-hand with taking ownership of your position. You cannot have one without the other. Being accountable is a reflection of direction and no-one should make a choice without being accountable. Your team needs to realise, and quickly, that as a leader you are more than just responsible for the decisions, and therefore you own them.
You will always get somethings wrong, you will make the mistakes, owning them is one of the great strengths a leader can display. It sets a foundation of trust. It encourages transparency. It builds and strengthens bonds and it raises a level of integrity that will resonate throughout the company.
There are many qualities that are important in great leaders, but role modelling, a strong purpose, a natural coaching style and courage to be accountable are some of the most important.