In the Nigerian business world, the strong-arm leadership approach is applauded too often. We celebrate the “no-nonsense” leader. But the truth is, ego rarely gets anyone, even leaders, anywhere. Exceptional leaders, when faced with an issue, are more calm and compassionate. They realize that this is the most effective way to move the company and the collective goal forward.
The one thing that separates great leaders from good ones is that the former do the following:
It goes without saying that people who listen have a tendency to be better leaders, spouses, friends, etc. Of course, this is beyond just listening in the typical “let me wait for him/her to stop talking so I can make my own point” kind of way. It is about really listening.
Listening carefully will always help you understand your team’s inner thoughts, and yes, this may mean more work for the leader. But the truth is, exceptional leaders really care.
2. Constantly Learn
Great, high impact, difference-making leaders are know to love learning constantly. Exceptional leaders always learn, change and adapt as often as it is necessary. Sometimes, they even go back on what they thought might be wrong before.
Rather than having one preferred or dominant style, a leader needs to be able to shift to different leadership styles to suit a situation and the team.
3. Develop people & team
Being a leader is NOT about looking and sounding good. It is really about others. Making that a part of who you are as a leader will make you not just a good leader, but an exceptional one. Leaders are actually servants! Leaders who understand this, almost always win.
The strongest teams are those in which their leader inspires, supports, challenges and holds them accountable. A leader’s work is never done.
4. Give feedback
Holding up a mirror for team members to see how their actions are impacting results is essential. Vital. Feedback aren’t meant to be passive aggressive. They should be honest, yet fair, positive and should inspire people to do better.
Have the confidence to recognize when and where you might not have the right answer. If you believe your team may know best, invite discussion and ask the right questions. You are looking to support your team and encourage them to take greater responsibility for future action.
This may be the most important thing about being an exceptional leader. Great leaders understand the business they are a part of, how their team impacts the business and how each employee’s action impacts it as well. They may not be experts or charismatic speakers, but they have a strong working knowledge of the business – trends, challenges, etc. This way leaders can be adaptable and be able to articulate why things matter.
As a leader, you are the team. Your job is to build and manage your team to deliver results. This means that you are fully, responsible for whether your team wins or loses. The buck stops with you.
Did you find these tips helpful? Share your thoughts in the comments section!