All too often we are subject to tales of woe about controlling bosses, patronising managers and dismissive leaders. It seems those with decent, nurturing and likeable bosses are well and truly in the minority.
So what does it take to be a good leader? And can one learn the law of the land, or is it more a case of being born ready? Either way – the bottom line is all about respect.
Most of us have seen them. They micromanage all over the place, have no real trust in their team’s capabilities, never have time for individual contact, are unapproachable and the list goes on ad nauseam.
The problem is, many a work leader is oblivious to their own failings and are often so bogged down with the job and their role that they have no idea they’re fuelling a frustrated and unhappy workplace.
Such a leader has lost sight of the fact they are just one section of a larger team, and that team consists of other human beings who are valuable and necessary in completing the sections to make a functioning whole.
If those people are being treated unequally, whether directly or passively, or with disrespect of any kind – they are going to either rebell, fail or become stress affected, at which point, the ship will start sinking.
Therefore, the most important attributes of being a good leader are not numbers related and certainly not how well you can brown nose to senior management. It’s how you relate to your team members. It’s about the compassion you show for them. It’s the ways in which you encourage, inspire, support and, above all, respect them.
Any leader who sees themselves as superior to their team has got it wrong from the get go. Great leaders know they are equals – nothing more, nothing less. And even better leaders can admit when they are wrong or when they don’t know all the answers, and they are proudly open to learning from their team in such situations.
So, if you’re the type of person who possesses good leadership qualities by nature (such as compassion and listening skills) then perhaps you’re a born leader. If you’re not, perhaps you can learn how to be through experience and practice.
However, if you have trouble delegating, cannot stand to lose control and don’t trust others easily, you might want to rethink your career choice, as the workplace is already well stocked with your particular variety.