Great leaders typically have a credo they live by. It is often something personal to them. Some lesson that they learned as they came up from the ranks. Some piece of wisdom that was imparted to them by a mentor. Something a parent or other family member used to say often. Perhaps it is something a famous philosopher such as Marcus Aurelius or Lao Tzu is often quoted as saying. Whatever that credo is it informs their style of management. It can make a difference in how effective they are as leaders.
Whatever credo a leader embraces there are certain essentials that make the difference between a mediocre leader and a great leader. Following these basic essentials allows a leader to create synergy in their organization. It allows them to have well-defined goals to meet. It allows them to foster good relationships with their subordinates. It allows them to nurture the talents of their team. While the credos that great leaders follow can come from very different places they do have a certain philosophical outlook in common. Essentials that are hallmarks of leadership. In this article we will look four essentials that great leaders follow.
1. Distinctly Stated Goals
You can’t lead if you are not clear about your goals. Great leaders are seldom scatterbrained and incoherent. They seldom succeed if they are constantly operating on impulse and without a plan. One of the important differences between a mediocre leader and a great leader is often the quality of the plans they make. A clear set of goals can prevent problems before they ever happen.
Great leaders pass on their clarity of purpose. They have clearly defined goals that their team can work toward. Those goals are practical benchmarks that the people who work for them can meet. That clarity of purpose also goes beyond practical benchmarks. It creates a certain clearly defined culture that is embraced by everyone. Distinctly stated goals allow everyone in the organization to work in tandem toward success.
2. Create an Atmosphere of Trust
One of most common exercises done during team building events at conferences is a trust exercise. The so-called “trust fall” is a popular one. One person turns their back to their partner and falls back with the expectation of being caught. It is symbolic of the way a team has to work; with the expectation that they will have each other’s backs.
That trust has to start from the top. Great leaders know the importance of trusting the people who work for them. It is the mark of good leadership for two reasons. First, an atmosphere of trust creates a bond between a leader and those they lead. That is good because it makes things run smoother in an organization. Second, great leaders know they don’t have to micromanage and that they can trust their people to do their jobs. That boosts morale and encourages employees to grow in their jobs.
3. Nurture talent
Great leaders know the importance of talent. They are generally very talented people themselves. They have figured out how to utilize and develop their own talent. It’s part of what brings them to the top in an organization. Having developed their own talent, great leaders know the importance of developing the talents of their subordinates.
Why do great leaders take the time (and in some cases put up the money) to develop their team’s talents? They know that it benefits their business. Employees who feel that their talents are being nurtured and fully utilized are motived to work harder. They are motived to increase their skill level. That makes them more valuable employees.
4. Conduct a Symphony of Work
Think for a moment about a maestro who is conducting an orchestra. Picture them standing on their podium with their baton. They are in control of the whole orchestra and the musicians respond to even the smallest flick of the baton. That is what great leaders do. They direct all the people, capital and assets that they are charge of for the best results.
It can be a tricky balancing act. People don’t always work well together and it is up to the leader to ensure that they work together as well as possible. Things don’t always go right and it is up to the leader to find solutions. Great leaders, like great conductors, work to align all the systems they are in charge of make them work in harmony.
A great leader follows all four of the above essentials. They understand that their role is to lead with a clear set of goals and a unifying sense of purpose. They understand that it is their job to act like an engineer who makes sure that all the parts of a machine work smoothly together. Great leaders know how important it is to create fertile environment in which their employees can thrive and develop their professional skills. They know trust is an important part of teamwork. When you look at your leadership style ask yourself: how can you do a better job following the four essentials of great leaders?