Being a manager and being a leader are two completely different things. As a manager, people follow you because they have to. As a leader, people follow you because they want to.
If you took a poll of management in the United States, you’d likely find that people would want to be leaders as opposed to managers.
Leaders have certain qualities and characteristics that endear them to their followers.
7 Characteristics of a Good Leader
Here are seven characteristics that you’ll need to develop if you want to become a good leader:
You expect your employees to be dedicated, but how are they supposed to be when they see that their boss isn’t? Dedication is something that rubs off on the people that surround you.
When they see how much you love your job and want your company to succeed, they will follow suit.
As a boss, there are some things that are better kept from your employees. You shouldn’t tell them everything about your job and everything you know.
If they were supposed to know everything that you do, there would be no need to have you, right?
If an employee approaches you and asks you something, be honest and open with them. Share with them what you can and help them to understand the company. Let them know that you are always available to talk to them, and install an open door policy with them.
This will make you seem much more approachable.
Openness is also accompanied by employee appreciation. Showing your employees appreciation establishes trust in you as a leader that you notice what they do, and are willing to give them credit where it is due. You can set up reward programs, or simply pick a standout employee at random, either way, they need to be noticed.
Every boss has a trait that is endearing to his/her workers. Something that the employees love about their boss and endears the boss to their workers. In many cases, that thing is a good sense of humor.
Crack a joke every now and then and have some fun while you’re at the office.
Your employees will loosen up, relax and enjoy their work and your company even more than they already do. This doesn’t mean you should go overboard like a certain boss from “The Office”, but keeping the work environment happy and up lifting is always good for boosting morale.
There needs to be something that has set you apart from your employees. Something that either helped you get the company started or caught the eye of those who started it. In many instances that thing is creativity.
Thinking outside the box and being creative can help you along the path of leadership. People will want to do their work like you and they’ll attempt to think outside the box as well.
5. Hard Work
Working hard can make up for a lot of things. You could have a doctorate from Harvard, or a degree from the school of hard knocks, but if you don’t work hard in your career, you won’t ever advance.
CEO Todd Pedersen of Vivint Home Security is a great example of hard work. He didn’t get his college degree but has worked so hard that his company made around 400 million dollars last year and was able to sell to Blackstone for two billion dollars.
As a leader, you need to find out what does and doesn’t work. Learn from other people’s mistakes and from your own experiences. For example, Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, had to try working for various places before she landed her gig at Yahoo!.
Working with other companies and in foreign countries gave her an advantage in her job experience and careers search. Good leaders aren’t afraid to try new things nor are they scared to throw out the things that don’t work.
Leaders are confident. You can’t go into your job fearful for your job security or fearful for the future and expect that fear to not be contagious. If your followers see fear in your eyes, they will start to become afraid, morale will drop, and their production could decrease.
There are many other attributes that can make a good leader. On your quest to become a better leader, you should search for these qualities, and try to make them your own.
Study leaders that you’ve had and famous world leaders that you admire.
Find out what made them that way and incorporate some of their leadership traits into your style. Keep working hard at your job, and let your workers know that you care.
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- How to Build Your Leadership Experience (business.answers.com)
- Characteristics of Effective Business Leadership (smallbusiness.answers.com)
- The Difference between a Boss and a Leader (wooboard.com)