TIP TUESDAY: Are You a Great Leader?

Think for a moment about the most effective boss that you’ve ever worked with in your life. As you look back, ponder for a moment what made that individual stand out.  What characteristics made him or her special? Was it charisma? Drive? Enthusiasm? The ability to motivate?  Whatever the case, the type of leader  that stands out today — perhaps like those etched in your memory — has been talked about for decades in the literature and bestsellers.
It comes down to several factors:

1.  You  help  create meaningful work.
Research states that “work” is one of the top things that give people  a meaningful life. One 2003 study of 25 top companies in the world set out to discover what attracts and retains top performers. The study found that employees in those companies felt their work was  valuable — it gave them significance  and purpose, and it made them feel that they mattered and that they were doing something that was worthwhile or important. In turn, it’s been found that if we feel good about our work, it not only fuels  business outcomes like productivity and profitability, it also lowers  stress and causes  less burnout.

2.  You let others shine.
Perhaps you’ve worked for a self-serving leader?  Typically, they  need to be in the spotlight to keep their inflated, insatiable ego fed. On the flip side, the most remarkable leaders  don’t need the glory; they understand what they’ve achieved. They don’t seek validation, because true validation comes from within. They stand back and celebrate other people’s accomplishments; they let others shine and give them credit for the success of the job, which helps boost the confidence of others.

3. You lead from your heart.
More than ever, we are faced with business challenges that call for higher levels of innovation, knowledge, and soft skills. So when leaders operate from a place of integrity, honesty, and compassion  (matters of the heart), they  gain the trust of their team members. Yes, they are still tough and hold others  accountable for performance,  excellence, and results, but people  feel safe  in their presence.

4. You meet the needs of others.
Great leaders are cognizant of what’s  needed to keep their most valued team members motivated and engaged in their work. They  ask  themselves questions  like:
Do my employees know what is expected of them at work?
Do my employees have the opportunity to do what they do best every day?
Have  my top performers received recognition or praise for doing good work?
Do I, or does someone at work, encourage employees’ personal and professional development?

5. You give and receive  feedback regularly.

In a  casual interview  a  few years ago,  Elon Musk  dropped one of the best quotes in regards to improving oneself:   “I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.”
The feedback loop is unquestionably part of every leader’s growing process. In trusted teams, negative and constructive  feedback will stretch a leader (and team members) to learn new things. Managers also win the hearts of their people  by being open and sharing plans for the future, communicating important things to their people, and fostering a transparent culture of  giving and receiving feedback  on no less than a weekly basis.

6. You share your power.
Instead of leveraging their  positional power for personal gain, self-promotion, or demands for special privileges, great leaders put people in positions of leadership to stretch their growth and develop new strengths and roles for  them. In essence, they are able to share their power  because they’re in it for their people and want to see them win.  By sharing  power and releasing  control, great leaders actually  gain  real power. Employees are more loyal, more committed, and unleash  discretionary effort beyond what is expected of them. This is all possible because they work for selfless leaders with a keen interest in their people’s growth and success. It’s really a win-win-win — the leader wins, the employees win, and the company wins.