There’s a lot of material out there, like books, articles, videos, seminars and many others, with the sole purpose of teaching people how to be good leaders. Up to a certain point, this is really useful, but in my experience, great leaders are simply good people. The kind of people that understand that employees are people first and workers second.
I’ve seen many awesome and not-so-awesome leaders, from CEOs to line managers, in different industries and with various levels of pressure above them. What I learned from them is that there are some specific traits that good leaders have in common.
They share responsibilities
I’m not talking about sharing major responsibilities with the team to help them develop their abilities right now. I’m referring to taking part in small and sometimes even dull tasks, showing people that ‘the boss’ is not above anything. Working on these things as part of the team, brings a whole new level of respect for that leader.
They share their vision and challenges
As I see it, one of the goals of team members of any team is to make their boss’ life easier. This is easily achieved when you have a clear knowledge of your leader’s goals and the roadblocks they’re encountering. It does no one any good if leaders keep all the information to themselves, simply because they have some kind of privilege.
They are kind, always
People know it’s their responsibility to do what their bosses ask them to do. Employees know this, whether they like it or not. But rather than ordering people around, true leaders ask nicely. No matter the pressure they have or the situation they’re in. In addition, they also consider people’s time, workload and they build synergies.
They have your back
There are a lot of bosses out there that will say anything to avoid looking bad themselves, even if it means running over their teams. Sadly, I’ve had them, you’ve had them, everybody’s had them. But good bosses have your back, every time. Even when you’ve made a mistake, even if you’re not present, especially if you are not present. After that, the real conversation will happen face to face.
They make you want to be like them
I’ve definitely had some bosses that I don’t want to be like. And although they’ve taught me lots, I’ve realized I don’t want to treat people the way they did. In contrast, I’ve had other bosses who inspired me to be a better person, to be someone that inspires others to take care of one another.
All of these qualities make this the kind of leader I want to be – for them there isn’t a thing I wouldn’t do.
And I think this is a common feeling. To truly be engaged in a role, among other things, you need leaders that make things better.
Finally, I want to give a shout out to the amazing Karen Matthews at RMIT Europe, in whom I found all of these characteristics and many more. I had the absolute pleasure of working with her for over a year, and I couldn’t be more thankful for her guidance and support. Our shared love of comms and chocolate is something I’ll always carry with me.
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