My March Monday is off to a great start!
Kerrie Mullins-Gunst, one of Australia’s leading female business advisors and speakers has graciously accepted my request to write a guest post for our blog readers. In this post, Kerrie is sharing her insights into what makes a good leader. As a bonus, there is a Leadership Resource Pack that can be all yours and guess what? It is free.
So read on, comment and share with colleagues the valuable insights that Kerrie is sharing.
Over the 20 years I have worked as a business consultant, leadership coach and strategic planning facilitator I have often heard people, in big and small organizations, complaining that good leaders are hard to find.
Is this true? Is our only option to keep looking until we find a good leader? Do we need to look for ‘pre-made’ good leaders, leaders who were born that way, or can leadership be learned and improved?
While I agree that some people seem natural leaders, I believe that most good leaders become so through learning and experiencing what works, and even more importantly, what doesn’t. We can all learn to be better leaders and leadership can be taught. And I have always observed, really good leaders are always keen to improve.
So if you want to become a better leader, here’s a good way to start…
While there are many things a leader must do to become an exceptional leader, let’s focus on three specific things that you can do immediately to start being a better leader.
In order to do a good job, a leader at any level must be able to guide, motivate, and support his or her people. Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail.
A leader guides people by providing an example of how things should be done.
To guide effectively, a leader should be working alongside his or her employees, in the trenches so to speak. The leader is not doing the same work but is working alongside them, making their own contribution by offering guidance.
A leader doesn’t just tell someone to do something; that’s what a boss does.
Leaders clarify what they want their people to achieve and help them work out how to achieve it.
Good leaders also guide by modelling the behaviours they expect of their team members. Do you want your employees to be punctual and work hard? Then don’t come in late, take long lunches, and leave early.
A quality leader motivates others. There are many ways to motivate, but a common thread among great leaders is they listen to what their people have to say and respect them and the job they do.
As a leader, your team members are important. They have a huge wealth of experience and knowledge about the integral workings of their job that you probably don’t have, unless you worked your way up the ranks. Look inside yourself and think about what motivates you – a bonus, extra time off? Those are nice, but actually the biggest motivator is recognition and a big pat on the back for a job well done.
Learn a bit more about what motivates people in the workplace – and what de-motivates people – and you will find it much easier to understand why simple things can work so well. Stopping to say “how are things going?” in the corridor, smiling at team members when you pass them or learning the names of a team member’s family and asking after them, can be so powerful. As can making a point to recognize the contributions of all team members – not just the high profile people, but all the ‘behind-the-scenes’ workers, when a big deadline is met or a problem solved.
Good leaders provide support to their team members, enabling them to do their job well. What do your employees need from you to get their job done quickly and efficiently? What tools should you provide to help them do their job better?
If you are not sure what support your people need, simply ask them what they need. Could you demand an employee type and email a 97 page report when he doesn’t have a computer? Of course not, he is not equipped.
However the support your team needs to do their work successfully may not be so obvious. It could be that they need more quiet time without interruptions or the opportunity to talk things over with you or someone else to get their thoughts straight. Or the support they might need could be in the form of additional training, or coaching and feedback that improves their skills and performance.
By identifying and securing the support that each of your team members needs to contribute their best efforts you will be demonstrating yourself as a leader who cares about your team as well as their results.
So, are you a good leader?
Most people in leadership positions must learn how to be good leaders. If you focus on guiding, supporting, and motivating others, you will be well on your way to becoming a leader anyone would be keen to follow.
About the Author
Kerrie Mullins-Gunst (MBA, BSc, DipEd, Company Directors Course Diploma) has more than 20 years experience Growing Success as a business consultant, leadership coach and strategic planning facilitator. Visit http://kmgconsulting.com.au for more details, and while you are there, claim your FREE Leadership Resources Pack at http://kmgconsulting.com.au/freeFollow Me
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