Have you ever been asked who the best manager, leader, or boss you’ve ever had was? Did you instantly picture them and remember all the good times you had? Can you explain what made that person the best? Chances are you’re going to mention things like being funny and understanding, along with other descriptors.
Ultimately there are two groups that decide who exactly an effective leader is: their boss(es) and their staff. Their staff will think their leader is effective if they can manage and help the team while keeping morale high. Their boss or bosses will see them as effective leaders based on the timeliness of their deliverables. Ultimately a couple of behaviors and traits will connect most effective leaders but not every great leader will encompass every single trait.
A behavior that leaders tend to have is the ability to lead by example. Most of the time leaders who exhibit this type of behavior will do it instinctively. The notion of “doing the right thing” is simply “doing the thing” to them. They will always be performing to the best of their abilities and encourage others even when under pressure. Do note that leading doesn’t always involve being out in front of everyone. Sometimes it involves taking a back seat to see what and how everyone is doing and providing them with the support they need to get the job done.
One way to lead by example is to take responsibility for your actions. In some cases, this will also include the actions of others. As a leader, you’re in charge of others and any failures on their parts reflect back to you. Instead of chewing out staff based on their shortcomings, acknowledge the fact that an undesired outcome happened, work to make sure it never happens again, and most importantly own the mistake. By passing on the blame all you’re showing your staff is that you don’t want to be associated with their performance, which in the long run will end up causing the team more damage. Owning a mistake will create a chain reaction in your team, leading them to do the same in the event of a mistake.
A good leader should always be lifting their staff up. This means encouraging professional development. In most cases, this should consist of training to improve upon their already assigned tasks. For example, a social media manager could be doing training to improve the quality of their content, they could be trained to use analytics in a more efficient manner that leads to more engagements or even conversions. In some cases, there are opportunities for staff to undergo training towards their long-term goals, even if they’re not directly in line with their current job. Suppose that you have a web developer who wants to grow into a team leader or supervisor role in the future, training courses such as leadership development or the Sigma Six training can help them achieve that goal.
While the main purpose of these training sessions is to better equip your team for their jobs. There is an added bonus of showing that the leader in question does care about their team. Having someone that wants to invest resources into their team’s growth and development goes a long way, especially with matters of morale and retention.
Great leaders will be different depending on both the company and the team working under them. Some traits that make leaders great in one company, might not fit the culture of another. In the end, as long as the team working under a certain manager delivers their tasks on time while staying motivated to work, a leader can be considered effective. Whether you are already a leader trying to improve or someone who hopes to be in a leadership position, just remember what the leaders you looked up to did and try to emulate that in your own way.