Great leaders are trailblazers, making a path for others to follow. Great leaders, however, inspire their people to reach higher, dream bigger, and achieve greater. Perhaps the most important leadership skill you can develop is the ability to provide inspiration to your team. If you inspire them to reach for the stars, they just might bring you back the moon.
I have spoken with many different people about this subject, from leaders to employees. A great leader has respect for their employees and knows that they are also human. He or she sees their strengths and weaknesses, their qualities and already knows how to bring this employee to the next level. With next level I mean growing their skills, inspiring them, empower them. Every leader has their own leadership style.
“A real leader uses every issue, no matter how serious and sensitive, to ensure that at the end of the debate we should emerge stronger and more united than ever before.” Nelson Mandela
I have had awesome leaders who inspire me and motivate me. But I have also had leaders that would only diminish me nor have the ability to see what my qualities are. These “leaders” I call the blind ones. I remember one time a manager telling me: “I can’t read you – see who you are”. Now my first reaction as an INTJ is: “Is that my problem? – is it my problem that you can’t see that.” But then I started to think that; maybe I should show a bit more of myself. As I am too focused on work and always choose the people that I want to show my private life too. Looking back I don’t think that she knew who I am and most importantly what my skills are.
Without knowing who I am and what was going on in my personal life she told me that I should see a psychologist – which is the worst thing you can say to me being an INTJ and all. I praise the LORD that I did not listen to her. But you must know that this doubt in my foundation hurt me as an employee as a human and as a woman. I have cried so hard that day never ever have I felt so defeated in my life. Now I know that I was not comfortable at that job to show myself, as a person. I started to doubt my skills. Skills I developed over the years. Skills I worked my ass off to become better. Don’t get me wrong I love to learn and I don’t believe my skills are all developed. But they were good for the job then. This wasn’t about me, my performance or my education; this “leader” was not listening, neither motivated, inspired, nor understood and did not try to. A great leader will recognize, this is your job, you have to in order to see which skills would fulfil the objective you have set for your team and ultimately for the company.
It is crucial for a leader to give tasks to your employee instead of holding it with you out of fear it won’t be done right. Where is the trust? If there is one thing we learned is that from making mistakes we all learn. And as a leader, you should empathize in that. You made mistakes, during your career ladder, but you learned from those mistakes and ultimately it gave you the position in which you are in.
A leader is best when people barely know he exists when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. —Lao Tzu
From the moment an employee feels insecure as a team member, you can bet your sweet ass that this person, feels uncomfortable. I did not feel comfortable to tell her what was on my mind, way too afraid to either lose my job or it will be used against me. When asked for employee feedback, she asked why but never dove into the reason. So how can you learn? Now as a leader myself I cannot understand that you don’t want to dive into that aspect to understand, but more importantly, to build an atmosphere that would prevent anything like this to ever happen again.
“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” —Rosalynn Carter
A leader should be a dealer in hope. And not having to show your authority. To me, that just shows your own insecurities and lets me not take you seriously as a leader. I am an INTJ and I do not care about authority. YOU ARE NOT HERE TO BE SOMEONE’S MUM OR DAD and tell them how to behave.<– yes! You will be shocked at how many people do this. You hire people because of their skills. So just focus on that and see how you and your team meet the team/company objective. Based on my own experience and what others have told me I made a list of what makes a great leader a great leader:
One of the most important skills that you need as a leader. Is providing inspiration, motivation and empowerment. Empathy would be a great asset as well. They say that the empathetic leader is the best leader.
Teach and Learn
As a leader, you know what you don’t know. Learning is a constant throughout your professional career. So share your wisdom with your team.
Be bold in uncertainty. Face fear so employees will do the same when the going get’s tough.
Challenges, tackle them
There is no challenge too big to handle. Once adopted this attitude, your employees will follow this attitude. Every problem will present an opening for greater achievement.
You are a work in progress too. You should be always wanting to learn. Humility is an essential attribute.
Listen to them all. Never choose sides, as we are not in kindergarten. We are here to work and to achieve the company goals. Also, your employees are your greatest resources. Encourage their dreams, empower EVERYONE up and down the corporate ladder to contribute and innovate.
It’s a balancing act to be a good leader. Your strategy should never rely on just one type of management. Balancing multiple leadership attributes will become second nature, and allow you to lead in multiple dimensions.
“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” —Jack Welch
So here is something from my personal experience. And I would love to hear your thoughts. Ever been in a similar situation? Or are there other points that you would add to the list, tell me what they are?