Defining Leadership

Recognizing the Signs of Good Leadership

William Drapcho asked:

You can probably find many instances where employees work well together and do a great job, indicating the owner must be a terrific leader. However, the sign of a great leader isn’t every employee working together when the boss is there. It’s actually seeing how hard they work together when the boss isn’t there!

Ethics has often been defined as doing the right thing, even when no one is looking and one of the signs of a good leader is when their employee are doing the right thing, even when the leader is not around and there is no threat of them showing up unexpected. Their people understand what the expectations are and what they must do to meet those expectations. Knowing the consequences also helps, but it is more important for the employees to want to do a good job because it will be appreciated, than knowing doing a lousy job will get them fired.

Employees and business coleagues look to a good business leader to set an example for them. Employees and volunteers like to have someone to go to when they need help. They also want that person to have the ability to recognize when to leave them alone to do the work they were trained to do.

Getting a group of employees to perform when they are not around is one of the best examples of a good leader. Managing by intimidation does not work, at least not for very long and most managers using that technique will quickly be replaced, especially after all of the workers protest and walk off the job. For the business owner, this technique will have them spending more time hiring replacement workers than actually teaching anyone.

To many business owners, they honestly believe it will take more time to train someone to do a job that it would take them to do it themselves. They have all, at one time or another, commented that they do not have the time to teach someone, and that it is faster to just do it. While that may be true in a short-sighted kind of way, be taking the time to share their knowledge and then letting someone else do the work, it frees up their time for them to do other things.

One secret of being a good leader is not to randomly assign jobs and expect them all to be completed. A good leader will have a complete plan for every project with time, and cost goals to complete the project. Specific steps with specific timelines to gauge progress should be established. When the plan is final, a good leader can let the group get it done and walk away. If they need help, he is there but if they are part of the planning process they have a vested interest in seeing it completed on time.


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