Great leadership doesn’t require a diploma or a degree. It’s not reserved for some elite group of people.
Meanwhile, leadership can be something for everyone to embrace, from administrative assistant to janitor to manager to CEO.
Sometimes all it requires is a shift in mindset: interpreting frustrations at work as opportunities instead of barriers.
Maybe it’s time for all of us to step up, to take action and become a leader and, with the support of other great leaders, help make the company (and yourself) succeed.
What Does Good Leadership Look Like? Leadership as a choice, it is about so much more than strategy, operations, and marketing.
It’s about discovering and understanding each team member’s potential (as well as your own) and finding ways to tap into that resource, something many managers neglect to do.
From presidents to generals to sports coaches.
The best leaders are often the ones who look outside their own field of endeavor to discover how true, universally successful leaders think.
For example, take John Quincy Adams who said:
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.
Or Lao Tzu who suggested:
Somehow, A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.
Although few employees would argue about the merits of such leadership styles—with the emphasis on encouraging and channeling subordinates’ intelligence and passion into the job.
But for employers, those styles could also yield positive results.
Moreover, in 2007-2008, Towers-Perrin Global Workforce Study found that if managers recognized employees’ untapped energy and ambition and then channeled it.
Somehow they would increase employee engagement, defined as an employee’s willingness to go the extra mile. And that engagement is golden.
Hence, the study found that companies with the highest percentage of engaged workers also had the highest increased operating income and earnings per share.
So by inspiring your staff, you’re potentially boosting the bottom line.
How to Inspire Leadership
If you’re an employee, how do you step into a leadership role? If you’re a leader, how do you encourage staff to step up?
Here are some suggestions:
Trust. Leaders need to create it and employees need to, well, trust. If your words and actions are just lip service, employees will know and steer clear. Avoiding flavor-of-the-month buzz words can go a long way to proving you are genuine.
Understanding. Employee empowerment is not an event, it’s a philosophy with specific strategies that allow staff to make decisions that directly affect their job. Employers need to be in it for the long term and employees need to consider how their decisions may affect the company.
Clear boundaries. When the leader is away, what decisions can staff make? Remember, assigning responsibility without authority can be a leadership killer. Make sure everyone knows who is leading whom. If you’re an employee, make sure you get clear direction before assuming responsibility.
Encouragement. Second-guessing the decisions of staff that have been given the authority to make those decisions undermines the entire process. Will mistakes be made? Of course. But shoot down an employee and see if anyone ever steps up with a critical idea or decision that takes the company’s success to the next level.
Empowering employees is a powerful way to motivate staff. It allows them to get passionate about challenges and inspires them to step up with new ideas. It’s a win-win situation. Left uninterrupted, this cycle repeats, encouraging passionate and skilled people to step up and make decisions about how to best serve customers or clients, which ultimately benefits the bottom line.