The old business paradigm declares that leader is followed because they are the authoritarian.
The new business paradigm, rooted in the experience of the 21st century, teaches us to follow a leader:
- who we trust,
- who has integrity, and
- who has built a relationship with us.
Generally, that leader possesses these five qualities:
- They bring out the best in others: When effective leaders look at an employee, they don’t focus on what he/she can’t do or what others say about them. They look at what each one is capable of doing. Most times, their capabilities are those they didn’t realize they had. What positive personality traits and abilities do you see in your employees? Your job is to bring out the best in your team. Seek out opportunities to build their confidence. Effective leaders see what others can’t because they look for it.
- They open doors: Like it or not, every job is temporary. The most talented people want exposure to challenging assignments. They want to build new skills. They want help to find new connections and mentors to guide them. Would you rather be a manager who squeezes more work out of others or a leader who grooms your talent to become bigger? When you get results and help others get where they want to go, recruiting becomes easy. Talent finds you. Pay it forward. Open doors for your team. Loyalty is a two-way street.
- They learn and they teach: To effectively lead others, you have to first lead yourself. Effective leaders are great students. Share what you are learning. Share your conclusions. Share your questions. Questions demonstrate intellectual curiosity. The best role models are students in search of mastery. Great leaders don’t demand excellence; they establish it by the example they set and every team is a reflection of their leader. Teach what you are learning. Learning is contagious.
- They assign ownership: Effective leaders assign ownership to team members. They empower them to make decisions and encourage them to explore, experiment, and discover new solutions. A leader’s role is to ask questions and guide others towards choices. Give your team space to figure out how to solve issues themselves. Give them the freedom to experiment. Assign ownership. Ownership builds trust. Ownership is how people learn and develop.
- They give others a voice: Most employees feel undervalued at work. They want to contribute more, yet often don’t feel comfortable inserting themselves or know exactly how. Bounce ideas off your team. This invites better ideas. Pull them closer with questions. Questions send a message that you value what others think. Welcome everyone’s voice. Giving others a voice makes a team feel connected.
Talent follows talent.
Effective leaders act the way they want their team to act.
Why do others follow you? Send me a quick note.
Seriously, let’s practice. This quick exercise alone will help crystalize why someone should join your team. I’ll comment on what you send me and you can reuse it when recruiting. It’s easy to do and it’s also easy not to do. The choice is yours.