Communicating as a Leader

Evaluating Leadership Qualities — 10 Things Effective Leaders Do to Motivate Employees

Barbara Brown, PhD asked:

You have a manager who thinks she (or he) is a great leader. In fact this manager has been pressuring you for a higher performance rating in the area of “leadership qualities.” So far, you have resisted. This manager does a good job of coordinating, controlling, and directing assignments. But she (or he) falls really short when it comes to motivating, developing, and encouraging employees. 

Bottom line, this manager is great at getting the job done; but is not so great at creating a positive work environment, demonstrating concern for employees’ personal interests, or highlighting positive achievements. Beyond your “feelings,” about leadership, what specific “leadership qualities” could you use to evaluate and discuss performance with this manager? Here are 10:

1. Reinforcing contributions and achievements; giving timely, positive, and specific feedback

2. Uncovering employees’ interests; encouraging them to develop and pursue personal and professional goals

3. Developing employees; providing opportunities for acquiring or enhancing desirable knowledge, skills, and abilities

4. Encouraging two-way communication; seeking input from employees and acting on that input

5. Acting as a positive role model; talking positively to peers, talking positively about the organization, and talking positively about customers

6. Displaying emotional intelligence; ensuring that physical reactions, body language, and personal statements promote constructive dialogue among subordinates, peers, and superiors

7. Facilitating positive interactions among employees; encouraging a pleasant atmosphere and reducing conflicts

8. Delegating authority effectively; giving employees autonomy while simultaneously establishing check points to monitor performance

9. Maximizing employee performance; matching employee tasks with capabilities, and giving emotional support that matches employee needs

10. Coaching employees; providing advice about performance, goal achievement, and career development

Effective Leaders Care About Work AND About Employees

Your goal in talking to this manager is to emphasize the value of keeping employees feeling committed to doing a great job. Focusing on tasks is important, but “employees” accomplish tasks. So effective leaders pay attention to the needs and concerns of employees. They engage them, involve them, and communicate with them. Tell this to your manager (who professes to be an effective leader) the next time you have a disagreement about leadership qualities. And remember to explain HOW these qualities impact employees: they keep employees doing a great job.

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