You can tell when good leadership is in place at a company. It is reflected throughout the entire company, from the CEO all the way down to maintenance. The company’s vision, values, and goals are understood. Employees feel appreciated and that their work has meaning. Good leadership allows employees to breathe life into a company.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, bad leadership is often reflected throughout the entire company. The company’s vision, values, and goals might be unclear. Employee turnover tends to be high, attitudes are often negative, and employees generally aren’t performing at their best.
Leadership, good or bad, has the ability to make or break a company. However, if you Google what qualities a good leader should possess, you’ll find article after article containing laundry lists of all the characteristics a leader should have. We combed over those lists and even surveyed our own staff members to find the top five characteristics of an exceptional leader.
A good leader should be approachable. Employees should feel comfortable presenting new ideas, discussing issues, and feel as though they are a part of a team. Management has an obligation to support and connect with their staff. Leaders that are not approachable, create a disconnect between employees and management. This can lead to issues with productivity and morale.
Being able to clearly communicate is a skill that applies in many facets of life. Leaders, especially, need to be able to clearly articulate company goals, policies, expectations, feedback, and possess transparency. But being able to give direction is only half of the communications battle, being able to listen is just as imperative. Clear communication also comes from paying attention to what your employees have to say.
Simply put, you either have a passion for what you do, or you don’t. Employees want to work for someone that has a passion for what they are doing. It’s often quite obvious when someone does not like their job and their negativity can potentially poison the rest of the work staff. Hire and work for leaders that have a passion for the work they do and want to inspire other employees.
Technological advancements have led to innovation in every industry. Employees want to work for leaders that are innovative in their thoughts, ideas, and business practices. Being innovative doesn’t just send the message that you are “with the times”, it gives employees and potential employees, the sense that you intend to be a thriving business ten years from now.
Included on almost every list and survey response was integrity/honesty/trustworthiness. A person’s integrity is built over time and can quickly be destroyed. Leaders often shape the company’s direction and make decisions on a daily basis that will impact not only the company, but the lives of employees as well. Having the confidence of the people that work with you is an absolute necessity for the success of any business.