‘What makes a good leader’ sounds like a relatively straightforward question, right? That all depends on how you define the word leader. The person in charge or with the highest income within the company isn’t always the leader. In fact, they very rarely are…
A good leader could be found in a number of people. It can be a mid-level manager who rallies the team and delegates responsibilities to finish a big project or a young adolescent with a positive attitude hyping up the squad with 10 seconds left on the clock in a youth basketball game. Rather than looking out for themselves, they are always interested in being a part of solving the problem or challenge no matter how big (or small).
Leadership can be defined as “the action of leading a group of people or an organization”. What someone does with that power can determine whether or not they are a good leader. It can be very easy for a self-centered business “leader” to divide his or her team which can destroy a company. To avoid this, you have to set your team up for success and work with people who are going to propel the company forward.
In order to develop good leaders, you need to weed out the individuals who are only concerned about self-growth and don’t have the team’s best interest in mind. Finding people who are a good cultural fit for your company should start from the mailroom up. Who knows where that person will be in two, five, or even 20 years. They might be running major departments of your company by then and you want to make sure they are going to have a positive impact on the team.
How do you do this, you ask? It starts with the interview process. Creating a checklist of questions to ask prospective employees gives them the opportunity to tell you about their experiences, what they have accomplished, and how they’ve done it. This is a great initial way to find out their outlook on being a part of your team.
You want to look for the people who can not only implement your business strategy but have the capabilities to fulfill the team’s needs. This requires looking into the future to decide what type of employee they may become. Yes, this may be difficult, but it’s important.
Though they may not be ready to lead a team today, their attitude towards being a part of one will give you a good idea of the person they will ideally evolve into.
This goes directly back to the mailroom. If you start looking for the right type of people from the ground level, that positivity will spread throughout the company. As these leaders grow into higher-level positions, they will want to surround themselves with other strong employees. Now, you may have to read this next line several times:
Great leaders will find good employees to develop into great leaders, who will then train future employees to be great leaders.
We are aware that’s probably not the simplest way to put it, but you should look for employees who want the company to grow as a team and accomplish similar goals.
We also need to point out that not everyone is meant to be a leader, and that’s okay. Being a part of a team, working hard, and having their goals align with the rest of the company is just as important. Leaders need people to direct, or else they wouldn’t be leading anything, would they?
Although you likely have a good understanding of what makes a “good leader”, it’s important to reiterate that there are certain qualities that go into being one. That’s certainly true, but that doesn’t mean all leaders are the same.
Let’s take a look at a few different examples of a good leader:
The Decision Maker – They really think through the best way to attack a challenge. They create a plan and develop the steps to ensure the team is aligned for success.
The Delegator – They know their teams’ strengths and weaknesses and assign tasks accordingly for the best results.
The Team Builder – They know how to bring a team together. Everyone gets to be heard and volunteer where they think they can excel.
The Imperfectionist – They learn from past mistakes and know they can’t do it all themselves. They surround themselves with the strongest people who can get the job done.
Like the talent they employ, companies are all different. Therefore, not every type of will be the right fit for you and your company. So when you’re trying to grow your team, it’s important to decide which direction you want to go. This will help determine the type of people to hire and promote.
Regardless of the types of leaders you want for your company, it’s crucial to give everyone the chance to shine and grow. While this may not be directly related to leadership opportunities, there are plenty of occasions to show appreciation to members of your team. Whether it be allowing them to attend leadership conferences and seminars or comping the fees for attending different courses and lectures, these are easy ways to show you value their hard work.
All in all, if an employee feels appreciated and valued, they are going to want to work their hardest for your company.