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What does it really mean to be a great leader?

You have probably heard time and time again all the different ways you can become a "great leader" at your company. While all this advice is likely beneficial for eager leaders, sometimes we don't stop to take the time to understand exactly what it means to be an ideal leader in the workplace. So, just what does it mean to be a good leader? Here are a few considerations for what quality leadership isn't and what it should look like:

Good leadership does not:

  • Hinge upon personal traits. You do not have to be an extrovert or extremely charismatic to be a great leader. There are plenty of amazing bosses and leaders around the world who might be more traditionally shy or not used to leading who do extremely well in relating to people and guiding them. 
  • Depend on hierarchies and titles. You can be a leader no matter what your status is at your company. Whether you're a CEO or a entry-level employee, there are numerous ways you can be an inspirational leader. On the other side, you also do not need to overly emphasize your title if you are in a position of authority. People may be less likely to respect and listen to you genuinely if you are always reminding others of your superiority. 
  • Always equate to management. Mangers can be leader and leaders can be managers, but the roles are not entirely synonymous. This is because managers focus on coordinating and overseeing activities and processes, while leadership focuses on developing individuals and teams. While strong management is needed, being a good leader is not about managing your employees well, but about pushing them to succeed. 

Good leadership does:

  • Focus on developing employee talent. As a leader, you are charged with supporting your employees in their career and skills growth. While you want them to complete their projects and assignments, you also want to transform them into quality employees and leaders themselves. Essentially, good leadership is about developing future leaders.
  • Mean you are in charge. Good leaders aren't afraid of employees coming to them with questions and problems. They know they are the ones who are responsible for solving these issues and making operations run as smoothly as possible.
  • Encourage a mission, not a plan. Employees follow leaders with a mission, not a plan. They want to invest in something meaningful and not just fill like their hard work is for nothing. Great leaders understand this desire.

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