What makes for a great leader? This question has been asked many times, and there's probably no definitive answer to it. The mark of a good leader can be found in many ways, and if you're unsure you're doing your leadership right, be on the lookout for these ten signs that tell you if you're going the right way:
1. Your people come to you for help
More often than not, what people look for in their leader is for them to be approachable, someone they can go to for help. Ask yourself if you're that person for your team. One of the marks of a true leader is to be approachable. Be their go to person for when they're in trouble, and most importantly, be reliable.
2. You are calm and collected
One of the biggest weaknesses in a leader is their temper. Ask yourself if you're the type of person to keep calm during stressful situations or if you blow your top the moment you smell trouble. Maintaining composure is one of the best traits a leader can have, and it's not something you often see. Next time your team messes up their task or if you're being screamed at by your clients, try to maintain your cool because, as the saying goes, "service with a smile will take you a long way."
3. You are good with feedback
Everyone makes mistakes, and the leader is no exception. The thing to be noted is how the leader handles their mistakes being pointed out and how well they respond to constructive criticism. It's easy to let your ego get the best of you and to write off feedback, but if you want to be a good leader, always keep an open mind and take in criticism with a positive outlook.
4. You don't beat around the bush
You've probably found yourself in a situation where you have to break bad news to your team or be honest when someone's coming to you for your opinion. How do you handle such situations? How do you deliver feedback about your team's performance? Being straightforward is one of the biggest marks of a good leader. Be it your colleague or even your best friend, you should be able to break bad news without sugar-coating it. Be frank, but not cutthroat.
5. You exude positivity
Everyone needs positive input from others, and more so in the workplace, where the pressure and stress of it all is enough to zap you of all your energy. Ask yourself if you're the type of person to always look for a silver lining even in challenging situations and if you're the type of person to carry positivity and spread it all around. A good leader knows how to keep his team motivated with just the right amount of energy. The Harvard Business Review and Gallup Polls have concluded from their surveys that 50% of the workforce is disinterested in coming to work regardless of the benefits provided if they feel their emotional wellbeing is not taken care of. A good leader doesn't just carry positive outlook within, but also shares that positivity with their team members. After all, a positive workplace will yield positive results.
6. You can handle responsibility well
Accountability and responsibility go hand in hand when you're trying to be a good leader, and one of the qualities of a fine leader is to know when to step forward and take the blame. Know to put yourself in front of your team, especially when there's a bad situation swinging your way. Learn to be accountable for your team's mistakes as well as yours. And most importantly, know when to step forward and take the responsibility that is expected from you. You can't slack off while your team works their hardest.
7. You are a good listener
As mentioned before, one of the marks of a good leader is to be open-minded. On the same theme, a good leader should also be a good listener. Nobody wants an old dog that can't be taught new tricks. A good leader should be able to take in new ideas and listen for change.
8. You give credit where it's due
Everyone loves to get a good pat on the back for work that they've done well, and in a team this could be the biggest driving force to get your members excited about coming to work. To be truly appreciated as a good leader, be sure to give credit where it's due—to appreciate and reward hard work.
9. You know your team
Sometimes it's easy to be disconnected from your team after you've been handed a leadership position, and this could affect the performance of your team because to be able to keep them doing their best, you need to know how they work and play to their strengths. A survey conducted by Deloitte showed that an inclusive workplace increases team performance by 17% and team collaboration by 29%. So to be a good leader you must get to know and understand your team. With instant communication tools like Zoho Cliq, you can bring your team together on a single platform, cut down communication barriers, and build an inclusive work culture.
10. You don't boss, you lead
There is a considerable difference between being a boss and being a leader. It's easy to spot a boss. A boss is someone who 'manages' their team, whereas a leader is someone who knows how to take the team forward while managing work at the same time. It's easy to micromanage and even more easy to boss around. Ask yourself if you manage or if you lead. It's the small things that make a difference.
So there you have it, 10 signs to know if you're doing your leadership right. It's hard to narrow down the broad skills and challenges of leadership to just 10 points, but if you found yourself nodding in agreement to most of the points mentioned, then congratulations! You're on the right track.