By Andy Bailey
Who is your example of a great leader? Maybe he’s your first boss who took you under his wing all those years ago, or a historical decision maker who made important progress for our nation. Maybe it’s your parents or a local government figure.
If you make a list of the leaders that matter to you, I am sure they would all have a lot in common. Most would be motivators, communicators and decision-makers. All of them would have passion. None of them would resemble King Henry VIII.
When it comes to business, you can’t grow your revenue, profits and company culture without a strong and effective leader. You also can’t make a difference in the lives of the people you work with without taking on the admirable qualities of those who have led you in the past.
Remember these four key traits of an effective leader:
1. A leader grows other leaders. Misguided leaders often try to embolden themselves by stifling others. Rather than asserting your authority over a team, empower the group by encouraging their leadership potential. This furthers your company’s mission and is a direct reflection of your success as a leader.
2. A leader knows how and when to follow. Effective leaders surround themselves with smart people who can offer unique solutions and insights. You won’t always know the answer to a problem—so let the person who does lead through that project. Not only does this grow other leaders, it frees you to lead in other areas where you are better suited.
3. A leader shows vulnerability. One way to gain your team’s confidence is by exposing your own vulnerabilities. Allow yourself to be transparent with your concerns. Your team will relate to you and support you through the company’s mission.
4. A leader is empathetic. Members of your team will fail. When that happens, make sure you have their backs. Confidence in yourself comes from being supported in your best and worst, and as a leader it is your job to offer that encouragement and use it as a teachable moment.
Take these suggestions to heart and influence your employees for good. A quality leader cannot exist without a team, and future leaders cannot exist without the role models that went before them. Be that person.
Andy Bailey is lead entrepreneur coach with business coaching firm Petra, and serves as the Entrepreneur Organization’s global membership director. Visit his blog at petracoach.com for more business and leadership insight.