There are a lot of sites and books you can read about becoming a good and effective leader. For the most part, they all say the same thing. Here is a condensed version of what makes a good leader based on my own experiences and opinions.
If you are going to lead a group of people, whether it be 4 or 400, you must be able to communicate. You need to ability to streamline ideas into a visible plan and also to effectively relay that to others. If the people you’re leading always seem to ask a billion questions, it’s probably because you aren’t communicating clearly enough. A good leader will be able to provide direction in such a way that leaves those around them prepared and ready to work on their own.
How would you feel if you were working under someone who didn’t know what they were doing? Speaking from experience, it’s downright annoying. The one thing I shouldn’t be doing as an employee is showing my supposed “leader” how to do the job. Since high school I was put in positions where the person in charge would ask me what to do and it just shows that those people shouldn’t be in charge. There is a fine line here though. A sign of a good leader is admitting that you don’t know what you’re doing. If you don’t simply state it and ask for help. From there you show that you want to move forward in learning and then you can properly lead once again.
3. Arrogance Isn’t Cute
This rings true for most of the true leaders I’ve met. If you’re a true leader, you don’t have to explain it to anyone. Pardon the language but if you’re in a constant dick measuring contest with other people than you are no leader. In fact, if you are constantly reminding me that you’re the leader of the group I’m going to assume that you’re very insecure in your position and probably don’t know what you’re doing. A really good leader doesn’t need affirmation, least of all from his/herself.
4. There’s Power in Words but Results in Action
I think this one is pretty obvious. Words can go a long way, trust me on that one. I’ve been motivated before to go above and beyond my job description by a few turns of phrases. I like to call those my “Last-Second-Ditch-Effort-Insert-Random-Sport-Coach-Speech Moments.” However, nothing produces results like action. Everyone tells you to lead by example and they are right. When I am put in charge of people I like to act normally, i.e. how I would if I weren’t in that leadership role. If people see me like another part of the group they are more willing to work with and for me. My actions have a direct effect on the actions of those I’m leading.
5. Be Direct
Part of being a leader is being hard on people. Well, that’s what people tell me anyways. I disagree. In limited circumstances do I think you need to be hard on someone. I’ve found that simply being direct is enough. I don’t need to yell at you, or criticize your work, or harp on the small details. I simply need to tell you what I expect. If I get less than that I will tell you so. I won’t be mean or harsh, there’s no need for it. When problems continue, again there’s no need for dramatics, it’s simply not working. A good leader will know when a team member just isn’t right for a role/position. Maybe that person should be placed elsewhere, or maybe they just don’t belong. Good leaders can tell and take action directly.
These are just some of the things that I think make a good leader. Don’t assume that I am right. Look back at your experiences with the leaders you’ve worked with and see what sticks out in your mind. Are you a good leader? I chose the picture for this article because it solidifies my main point about leadership. You are never done becoming a good leader, it is something to always be worked on.