- Focus on getting the “right people on the bus. Pay attention to job fit. Outstanding leaders hire the right person for the job, and make sure that job is also right for the person. It is not always about hiring the candidate with the highest credentials or the most experience – it is about hiring the person whose values and characteristics line-up with the organization’s, and who has great development potential. Any leader can read credentials on a resume, but it takes a great leader to recognize a good fit for the company and job position based on values and characteristics. Smart leaders invest in talent management solutions, like
assessments, to identify the right people.
- Assign tasks within existing skill sets. – Great leaders aim to grow their team professionally in every situation. They encourage people to work within their strengths and develop their weaknesses. This type of leader will effectively balance task assignments in a way that will allow their employees to continue to learn and develop new skills without overwhelming them, and will always offer praise and constructive criticism effectively.
- Set achievable goals. – They drive their team to think big and work hard, but never set unrealistic goals. Great leaders are aware of the capabilities of their people, and will never put pressure on them in an attempt to achieve unrealistic goals, because they know they will sacrifice quality for quantity. Leaders who set unachievable goals may sacrifice the quality of employee work-life balance, the quality of work produced, and the quality of morale and culture within the workplace. Great leaders know that progress takes time, and that big success does not happen overnight.
- Lead by example. – These leaders use professional behavior and judgment because they want these actions to be mirrored by their team. How else will workers know how to effectively behave and decision-make, but by observing the actions of their leader? Bosses are always in the spotlight, and are considered the ultimate mentor, as their subordinates generally see the superior’s status as a sign of achievement, and think “they must be doing something right to be in that position.” Great leaders recognize this, and always exude professionalism and other key components of success.
- Continue personal development. – Great leaders do not assume that, because they are in a leadership position, their development is complete. They are constantly learning from their team members and growing their own leadership skills. If a leader has decided that, after experiencing success, they are finished growing and learning, their success will be short-lived. Regardless of the organization’s industry, business is always changing, and business people – specifically leaders – must change with it. Great leaders use change and learning experiences as opportunities to take organizations to new levels of success, while other leaders may fall victim to change and allow it to destroy their company.
- Provide opportunities to develop new skills. – Great leaders offer opportunities for further training of their team. Not only to help their people become better employees, but also to develop the skills they want to grow. Just as leaders must always develop themselves, they must also facilitate growth within their team. Outstanding leadership will always provide ways for its team to better themselves as people, as experts in their field, and as employees.
- Hold themselves accountable. – Team members should know their leader holds themselves accountable for the team’s work. When working as part of a team it should be known that the team leader will “take the hit,” for any honest mistakes of the team members, it gives the team confidence to explore different ideas, and encourages options of than the “safe approach.” This enhances the sense of group cohesion and camaraderie.
- Share their vision of success. – When leaders ensure that each team member understands their vision of where the team is going, they feel more engaged in the process, and find it easy to align their expectations and work product with the team and corporate goals. This allows the entire team to maintain focus and share the satisfaction of achieving their goals. No one knows your business better than you do. Many people try to define leadership in broad terms, but part of success is recognizing there are many things successful leaders have in common and, in contrast, every organization and team is unique, and requires many styles of leadership. Important factors in the art of leadership include understanding your people and organization, as well as implementing good ideas in the most effective manner to fit your situation. Recognizing this is critical to becoming an effective leader.