What does a good leader look like?

Ross Jones
Marketing Executive | Business West
5th March 2015

What does a good leader or manager look like? Can you think of a particularly good manager that you've worked with? Someone who has inspired and encouraged you, coached and motivated you, and supported your personal and professional development?

For most people, it's easier to recall an experience with a bad manager. A bad manager is easy to remember, for the negative way they made you feel, and displaying behaviours which reveal how not to lead by example.

Of course it's much easier to be a bad boss. To become an effective and engaging leader is challenging.

To manage means to accomplish, to have responsibility for, and to conduct. Leading involves influencing, guiding in a direction, course, action and opinion. There can be a clear distinction made between leadership and management qualities, and self-development and training are an important part in the process of becoming both a good leader and manager.

Managing your own behaviour

As you judge and manage a team, your team do exactly the same to you, observing how well you can handle internal conflict, recruit staff, how you reward success and respond to failure.

Leadership requires an ability to manage your own behaviour while understanding how your actions, tone and attitude can impact on the team around you; driving the business forward with a committed and supportive team.

Unless you wish to be remembered negatively, maybe you should think about your behaviour; not just how you think you behave - and this is key - but think about it from the perception of those around you.

Awareness and Judgement

Consistency and flexibility of leadership behaviour is one of the hardest skills to learn and to develop, but don't be discouraged, remember that great leaders continue to learn from their experiences and from those around them.

Creating a strong awareness amongst your team through regular communication will enable you to see and react to issues or opportunities straight away, allowing you to identify training needs, inefficiencies or innovation requirements needed to improve your business and its products or service offerings.

Ultimately you will be able to provide specific and achievable plans which detail the key steps required for the company and/or department’s vision.

A good leader

A leader focuses on people, not just systems and structures. A leader inspires trust, without relying on control. A leader challenges the status quo.

Almost 50% of the workforce would change jobs to feel more appreciated. However, different people are motivated and valued by different things, so it can be hard for most managers to know what their employee’s motivators are, and most certainly don’t know how to set up a process to ensure that they get what they need.

Engaging with your management team and employees through listening, and clear (open and honest) communication,  will provide you with a better balanced and informed thinking; allowing you to make well-judged, forward thinking decisions. Your team will ultimately see your credibility and commitment as a business leader to the company and your workforce should feel motivated and appreciated.

Remember, great leaders continually learn, developing from their experiences and from those around them. Leadership is a journey of self-awareness, self-development and ongoing learning.

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