What Makes A Good Leader?

by | Aug 8, 2023 | Leadership | 0 comments

s to make surenIIf you answer ‘no,’ A great piece of work from Keith Murray (CMI) looks at the eight ways bad managers kills conversations – and motivation.

When you look at the eight  areas below, ask yourself to things; Do I do some of these things and do you someone that does?

1/ … are secretive and share as little information as possible – to them, information is power, so they deliberately choose to withhold it
2/ … are bad at giving feedback
3/ … are even worse at giving praise than giving feedback (employees always see managers who give praise as more effective)
4/ … are rampant one-way communicators who are on the ‘broadcast’ button all the time and have no interest in listening to people’s views or encouraging robust conversations to find ideal solutions. They care little about encouraging good communication between team members
5/ … are invisible, and prefer the security of their office walls to going out to talk to members of their team. They send emails at all hours of the day and night, even if members of their team are but yards away in the office
6/ … never prepare for presentations, preferring to speak off the cuff
7/ … have no sense of their audience and are completely unaware of the audience’s issues and concerns – they have a message to deliver and, by heck, deliver it they will, no matter how long it takes
8/ … are ambiguous, indirect or even lie, and never check whether people have understood a single word they said, and often use the phrase ‘you are not listening!’

 Okay. Do you recongise any of these behaviours from yourself? If your answer is ‘no’ it’s worth asking for some honest peer feedback to make sure. If you feel the eight areas as a personal attack on the way you manage, it is likely you do give out some of these vibes to your team. May be hard to take, but worth taking onboard.

Who of us would want to be working in a team led by a boss who exhibits any of the behaviours I have listed above?

These are toxic bosses, and they create dreadful cultures and poisonous places of work that are harmful to our health, and our ability to contribute meaningfully to our organisation. These are the bosses who will have high churn rates in their teams, with most of their employees looking to move to another department or even another company.

Happily, well-intended managers who truly want to improve their performance can address most of these bad behaviours. Being mindful of these destructive behaviours is a good place to start.

According to CMI research, as many as four out of five managers in the UK are accidental managers – those promoted to their role without adequate training. In the UK alone, that’s an estimated 2.4 million bosses. Imagine how many employees that affects? According to one estimate, less than half of all employees are satisfied with their manager. How many of them are feeling disengaged and demotivated? This brings with it a massive cost in lost productivity

Perhaps one of the single most important things to achieve great leadership skills is that they believe in what they are doing.

That is to say, good leaders should have a real passion for what they’re doing & really believe in it. This is important because it will help them to make the best decisions for the long term of the business and also because it will help them to inspire others.

They see the big picture and a good leader needs to be able to step back and see the bigger picture. They need to understand where the team is headed and what challenges will face them along the way.

This is important because it will allow all the individual members of that team to focus on their smaller aspect.

Good leaders have broad knowledge and should be something of a jack of all trades.

The reason for this is that it will give them the understanding to see how all the pieces fit together and it will mean they are able to deal with issues as they arise across departments; even when that means taking more of a top-level approach rather than understanding the nitty-gritty. You’ll also find that having some basic experience in each aspect of your business can help you to get more respect from the professionals in each aspect of your organisation.

Good leaders understand people and should be able to work with anyone.

This means they need to be able to empathise with those people and to understand what makes them tick so that they can inspire them to take action. It also means that a good leader needs to know how to. They are great communicators, but also means you need to be able to communicate as a leader. Not only is it your job to communicate the plan in a way that your team can fully understand, but it is also to communicate to your superiors and to your clientele and suppliers.

Good leaders think ahead and shouldn’t just be dealing with the day-to-day challenges of the business, but should be thinking one step ahead.

You need to be constantly questioning what the next challenge will be and how to face it and you need to be thinking about how to grow, improve and scale your organisation. Good leaders have contingency plans and need to have multiple contingencies and backup plans. Think of your worst-case scenarios and be prepared for them. Many a business has gone out of business by missing this key area of thinking.

It is important that you lead by example in all cases.

This means that you need to take a ‘do as I do’ approach, rather than making one rule for one person and another for yourself. It also means more generally setting the tone.

Teams look to their leaders as barometers – to identify how serious any given situation is and to know how they should react. If you panic, then your team will panic.

If you stay calm, then your team will too.

Good leaders are courageous and need to be courageous.

If this is sounding like your Saturday morning TV show again, then bear in mind that we’re not talking about the kind of courage that gives you the strength to stand up to the Decepticons in Transformers. Rather, we’re talking about the courage to take risks and to break the mould and take responsibility.

Once you have made that decision, it is critical that you stand by it and face the music. That means that you need to accept responsibility when things go wrong. This can seem unfair at times but once again, it is actually a feature that is important for the welfare of the team.

By accepting responsibility, you remove culpability from your team and give them the freedom to work without the fear of repercussions.

Best wishes

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