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Leadership - What Makes A Good Leader?

You are a Leader when others follow you because they want to, not because they have to.

I. Leaders are trusted

Leaders are effective not because they carry out the best practices competently, or have the best processes, or make a lot of phone calls. Customers will do business with people they like. They like people they can trust, and they trust people who show concern and competence. Employees will work well if they feel heard, if they clearly know what is required of them and if they feel that you understand that they are people too, and make decisions on a daily basis outside of work which affect them and their family.

II. Leaders listen

Listening skills are not hereditary, they are acquired. Most skills are acquired in early childhood and if children do not feel that adults are listening then it is very likely they will not listen as adults. Most people (75% according to some studies) do not listen well. People are motivated by leaders listening to them. People are more likely to follow an example than advice, so create better listeners by being a better listener. Everybody knows something that you don’t, and if you listen you will find out ideas that people have for bettering the organization.

III. Leaders do not judge

If you criticize someone’s idea they will almost certainly never use yours. Two heads are better than one and effective teamwork should always be considered an option. This means not only teaching others to work together and use each others ideas, but for you to become part of the process.

IV. Leaders delegate

Employees’ potential is often wasted. A good leader does not manage every single detail. A good leader recognizes that everyone has skills outside the immediate environment, and trusts employees to use those skills wisely.

V. Leaders motivate

Employees tend to stagnate when motivation decreases. Motivation is not the old fashioned “Do as I say or something bad will happen” – this is fear. That may have short term results but it is not effective longer term. Instead, challenge your employees, it initiates excitement and creativity. Set targets that may be slightly out of their range of achievement, and see what results. Then guide them towards the solution but don’t give it. Coach them into discovering it themselves and their self esteem will rise, together with better results for you.

VI. Leaders understand people

People in general do not change much. Look at your employees as they are now. Manage for their current abilities, not for the abilities of one outstanding individual. That individual will find his own way up. By constant observation look at what is required to do the job and become adept at interviewing and hiring.

VII. Leaders learn

Leaders look at themselves and their actions to see if they could have done better, and remember to do it better next time. Leaders educate themselves by searching for information, reading about leadership, talking to other leaders, trading ideas and experiences, and remembering that change is constant. They keep up with all the trends in management, technical, industry and people issues. When their business has grown to employing 5-15 staff, they need to change from a manager of things to a manager of people, and from a technical expert to a strategic thinker.

VIII. Leaders plan ahead

It is not enough to come to work to just do your job, and leave at the end of the day and move on. That is what employees do, that is their contract. Leaders think about “what happens next”, “what if” and have the answers and a plan of action ready. They are constantly thinking ahead, writing down ideas for improvement, and working out ways where the day to day processes work smoothly to give them more time.

IX. Leaders set goals for themselves

Leaders invest time and money if necessary in personal development. Think where you or your business wants to be in 3-5 years time. Write down those goals, and write down what needs to be done to achieve each one. The goals may be financial, personal or hobby related. Map out a plan for your life and if possible put timelines on each objective. Review the plan regularly to gauge results, and modify as required as circumstances change. Seek the support of those close to you who are affected, to gain their buy in, and keep them informed of how you are going against your goals.

Submitted by:

Bob Pearce

Following a distinguished career as a Naval Officer and many years in Senior Operational Management positions, and in Small Business mentoring, Bob has chosen to use the benefit of that experience to help business Owners create successful businesses. His website http://www.strategic-business-plan-4u.com contains free business information, and his eBook on Strategic Planning is a simple,easy to follow approach to drive businesses to the next level.




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