Nothing exposes a lack of leadership, like failure to manage one’s direct reports. While most leadership articles focus on
the character, personality, style, and charisma, of successful leaders, the emphasis here is on what makes those leaders successful.
Organizations can promote leadership theory, but they can’t develop leadership wisdom. Solely imparting concepts and expecting them to be applied in practice is largely ineffective.
If you don’t trust your employees, then you need to do some serious soul searching to find out the root cause of the distrust. Fail to do this, and it will impact your influence and lead to a high employee turnover in your departments.
Respect for people is the value most often overlooked. Motivating employees to do their best work is far from a simple task. Kate did not only spend months in coaching and mentoring me on hotel management and how to manage people successfully, but she also made sure to let me know she appreciates and values my expertise and commitment.
“Generally speaking, when workers know their hard work is being recognized, they are more likely to continue striving to do their best” – Ryan Jones
Nothing stifles employees’ desire to share innovative ideas, like the fear of getting dismissed. The responsibility and opportunity we bear as leaders to unlock the potential of our employees and to have an impact on lives in a positive way demands our very best every day. As time went on, I started working as a team leader whenever Kate and the assistant director needed days off; I was scheduled to cover their shift. This was a learning experience like no other. With Kate’s mentoring, I serendipitously found an affinity for leading others.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way” – John C. Maxwell
Here are some key qualities that every successful leader possesses:
- A leader needs to hold him/ herself accountable for the actions and performance of the team.
- A leader needs to engage his/her employees and make them feel a connection with the organization’s mission.
- A leader needs to promote alliance and collaboration across business units.
- A leader needs to focus efforts on those actions and initiatives that provide the greatest value to the organization.
- A leader needs to accept constructive criticism without becoming defensive.
- A leader needs to encourage open sharing of ideas and information and challenge the status quo by asking if there is a better way to get the work done.
- A leader needs to assist, teach and support his/her direct reports in order to help them display behaviors that are consistent with business values.
- A leader must clarify consequences with his/her team and celebrate successful behavioral changes.
- A leader must share responsibility for his/her employees’ successes and failures.
- A leader must be supportive by promoting honesty, trust, and mutual respect.
- A leader must focus his/ her attention on solving problems. In critical situations, issues should be viewed as a learning opportunity and not identifying people for punishment.
- A leader must create an inclusive environment. They are responding to employee’s questions and issues with empathy to build a value-driven organization.
- A leader must value consistency. Consistency reduces uncertainty.
- A leader must be strategically opportunistic. They must anticipate opportunities and leverage those opportunities towards their long-term goals.
Simply put, leadership has a lot to do with finding and building on what’s already working in an organization. As a result, we as professionals must be challenged to do what we don’t think we can. Conversely, if the leaders around us do not hold themselves to a higher standard, they will never be able to articulate their organizational visions nor be able to know how to pivot to environmental changes in their industry. Hence, successful leaders need to help set goals for their people but don’t prescribe how to get there. They need to clarify problems for their people, but they don’t need to take on the responsibility for solving them. When people work together, the work environment is more productive, and relationships are established. Focus on culture as much as processes, and you will see success.
Phidelia Johnson is a global Human Resources Practitioner with eighteen years of leadership success. With a focus on streamlining Human Resources administration, she’s well-equipped to find the right solution to a myriad of concerns. Her experience as a commercial business leader gives her a unique ability to advocate for both the employer and the employee.
In her down time, Phidelia is a master of her kitchen, creating wonderful dishes filled with passion and flavor. If she’s not cooking delicious food, she’s stretched out with a good book. She hopes to use her experience to help others, guide company leaders to best practices, and help build better professionals and stronger organizations.