Today’s business world continues to change at a quick pace, and with the ascendance of the gig economy, there is more competition than ever to attract and retain the best employees and keep them inspired and giving 110% . True leadership instills a lasting sense of loyalty amongst team members and spurs them to perform at optimum levels, while those that are deemed bosses are not viewed as favorably. Employees do not respond well to bosses, especially those who want to have a job where they believe they are impactful and necessary. Employees prefer to work for people that they respect. Being a boss will not get the kind of results that are possible with a strong leader. Bosses tend to push employees away and gives more reasons for great employees to quit their jobs.
There are many different qualities of leadership, such as authenticity, confidence, and a strong focus. Every leader has their own strengths and weaknesses, but what they do have in common is their belief that these qualities are important and necessary to sustained success. Most importantly, leaders instill confidence in those around them and build people up rather than knocking them down.
Being a trusted expert is one leadership quality that is useful when used in a productive manner, bosses tend to lecture their subordinates in a show of how much smarter they are. Leaders are always focused on best outcomes and how they can motivate the team to get there. Leaders also take action to thoughtfully put employees on projects for which they are best suited and where they will feel valued. When employees believe that what they are doing makes a difference, they will work with greater dedication and a stronger sense of purpose.
Becoming a leader is possible through acquiring a certain skill set, and while these behaviors may come easier to some, they are skills that can definitely be learned. Perhaps the most important skill is a sense of self-awareness. This skill is very closely tied to emotional intelligence and how one develops empathy for those around them. Many bosses are so focused on the task at hand that they may not take the time to ask for input from the people doing the work.
Leaders do not dictate orders, they require solutions and often times these solutions reflect input from across different function levels and roles. Self-awareness also allows you to have a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. True leaders find team members that can pick up the slack in areas which they do not excel, as they are not threatened by those who possess skills that they lack.
There are various styles of leadership and finding the right mix that complements your personality and skill set is key for success. In many corporate cultures, there will be one dominant leadership style and several approaches that come in to play with decidedly less impact. This style will be most reliant upon the executive’s personality and comfort zone. There are many different manners in which to lead, and feeling confident in oneself is likely the most vital component of strong leadership.
All things being equal, a collaborative style usually yields the best results, while an autocratic, or militaristic, approach is typically the least successful in creating a culture with a strong leadership. The Wall Street Journal advises that the style is adapted to fit each situation.
Many small business owners are satisfied with the results they receive acting like a boss and others want to hone their leadership skills in order to keep their best employees engaged and satisfied with their work life. Leadership can take many different forms, and entrepreneurs usually mix and match techniques until they find a unique approach that is effective for them.
Once leadership qualities have been embraced and brought to the fore, the execution of skills and styles can become a fluid process that is constantly evolving. Leadership skills can be learned, and leadership styles are quite reliant upon personality. The self-awareness to recognize which leadership qualities need to be honed is the vital first step in becoming an effective leader.