Being a leader is not easy. There is a necessary balance between authority and camaraderie. There are several keys to being a respected boss, but the most important characteristics involve being positive.
Finding ways to understand each other is a plus in all relationships, and in business that is no exception. As a team’s leader, you must make sure that your employees are aware of the business’ core vision and mission. If you believe in it, they too will be more likely to follow in the same direction. If your employees can acquire your mindset – or at least understand where you are coming from – they will understand when you are passionate like a dragon with fierce eyes and a mouth full of dancing fire.
They will also understand that you correcting them when mistakes are made does not make them a beast. However, criticism must be constructive. If you come across as a bully, you will lose your employees’ trust and respect. Employees will move on if you consistently are only heavy-handed. I know you don’t want that to happen to you.
As a boss, you also have to be a great mentor. You drive your employees to do more. They will improve if they encounter challenges that they can work through and overcome. As a boss and a mentor as well, you must reach out to your lower ranks to ensure they are able to handle the tasks at hand, without micro-managing. You also need to periodically check to see how they are doing in general, to determine if they have any issues with regards to you or the company policies, processes or co-worker. Be sure to truly want to hear their feedback. You want them to trust you so that if they have a concern, they will let you know personally. This allows you to not only keep a pulse on your business, but mentor them through their concerns. You have the ability to focus your employees’ thoughts and influence their way of thinking, including their self-confidence.
“Appreciation is a wonderful thing; it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” -Voltaire
A cardinal sin of leadership is to take your employees for granted. As a business leader your employees’ success is also considered your success. If they’ve done great things, it is with the help of your leadership. Conversely, great things can only be achieved by the group working as a team You are the boss, you are the influencer, so you must make sure you appreciate all the hard work they do.
A good listener is the one who climbs the ladder to success. A great boss is the very first person in the company who is willing to listen. If you do not listen to your team, you will not continue to learn, and ideas will become stagnant. Whether you choose to use the input you receive is ultimately your decision, but sincerely listening and asking for recommendations, you have shown that you value your employees and their thoughts.
These characteristics are intuitive for some people. However, if you find yourself lacking in one of more, do not fear! These are also learnable traits. Take the time to assess yourself, both in a quiet moment and in certain situations. Are you a positive voice or do you jump to the negative? With practice and diligence, you can change your voice – and in doing so foster a more positive and productive work environment.