Have you worked for a leader that truly inspired you? Made you feel like what you did was worthwhile? Alternatively, have you worked for a leader that made you feel worthless?
What have you based your leadership on – emulating what a good leader has demonstrated for you or making sure you never repeat their awful mistakes?
I asked a senior management group recently what were the attributes / actions that differentiated between the good and bad leaders they had worked for. Here are some of the characteristics they highlighted:
- Made me feel like he knew me / understood me
- Put in the effort to get to know me
- Recognised positive behaviour
- Didn’t ignore negative behaviour
- Knew what his vision was (was similar to mine)
- Took the time to know your ideas and thoughts
- Wanted to make positive change
- Had a high degree of knowledge
- Set the example for the team
- Was patient and helped me develop
- Provide goals that were challenging but could be met
- Challenged me
- Was supportive of me
- Showed interest and had time for me
- Never knew what the leader wanted
- Didn’t know if I was doing well or poorly
- Never too the time to get to know me
- Disrespected me (through words, actions or omissions)
- Didn’t ask for my opinion
- Didn’t know what they were doing
- Were less skilled than me but acted if they were superior
- Didn’t apologise for making mistakes
- Didn’t strive to do anything better
- Provided no feedback to me
- Rigidly held onto rules that didn’t impact on performance
Simply put, good leaders put in the effort to build and develop more than themselves, whether it be a person, a group or a business. Perhaps that is what makes the difference between leadership being respected or reviled?
Consider your own boss/manager/leader – do they demonstrate behaviour that you would emulate or avoid? Consider the two lists above. How would your leader rate out of 10 against the two lists?
Consider your own leadership actions. Is your behaviour revered or reviled? Will your staff emulate the way in which you work? Print out this blog post and rate yourself out of 10 against the criteria – what areas do you need to improve?