Most employees don’t trust their leaders — according to a recent article from Forbes, the number is 63%! Given that trust between leadership and employee is failing, is it safe to say that many are searching for the secret recipe to make a strong leader?
In his Ted Talk seminar, “Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe,” Simon Sinek stated that leadership is a choice, not a rank. Furthermore, he states that not everyone is capable of being a leader. In today’s workplace, people are often hired and labeled by job title, where leadership is misconstrued as a superior position — rather than a responsibility to motivate and empower a team.
Leadership is complex and we feel that leaders should inspire their teams to be the most successful versions of themselves. But what exactly do we think it takes? Here are the 7 ingredients that work for our team:
Trust is a two way street. Having trust in a work relationship means proving to your employees that you are reliable, responsible, dependable and deserving of their trust. What happens when trust is damaged? It results in second guessing and not believing in each other and what company can thrive off of that? Trust is slow to gain and quick to lose, so a leader must continually demonstrate trustworthy behavior to cultivate their relationships.
Being too friendly in the workplace runs the risk of portraying weak leadership, however, too little and you are not providing a safe place to share and challenge ideas. Being approachable is being collaborative, open and objective, enabling your team to feel comfortable coming to you with good or bad news without being reprimanded.
Some employees will perform tasks without question, while others need to know the backstory. While there are some “cards” that are best kept close to the chest, some employees have a “need to learn the details” mentality in order to understand and appreciate their full purpose. Most leaders think they need to be transparent to make people feel important — but extreme transparency can cause fear and anxiety or undue hope. Choosing what is acceptable to share and, more importantly, not to share is crucial in its effectiveness.
Courage is something that everyone has to some degree. Some people’s courage is suppressed by the fear of being judged or penalized, while others have an abundance of courage and can more easily navigate the workplace. Courage can show up in the form of admitting that you might not have all the answers, or even in being flat out wrong. Awareness of and learning from your mistakes is what helps shape trust and growth. A strong leader will also utilize courage to stand up for the group, letting the group know that mistakes and all, they’re respected for their hard work and efforts.
A recent Forbes article, “The Value of Humility in Leadership,” states, “we are all living during a time when people want and expect their leader to be more human, less perfect and at times a bit vulnerable — regardless of hierarchy or rank.” A leader that is humble and puts the employees first will see a higher employee engagement. People don’t expect perfection from their leaders and they will gladly follow one that owns up to mistakes.
A good leader will empower their team using a variety of methods. Empowered employees are loyal, committed and driven. When empowered employees are given the tools and support needed to be successful, the benefits are endless.
7. Emotional Self-Regulation
A leader should have the ability to react to demands and carry out tasks while exhibiting an appropriate and consistent persona. “Reading the room” is paramount when striving to appease the needs of the people in the room. A high emotional IQ will aid a leader in determining the correct behavior or action for each individual situation. Being self-regulated is to stay poised and rational — laying the groundwork for a team to be methodical in their approach to assigned tasks and obstacles that may come across their desk.
Collectively, we feel that these are the ingredients that make up the “secret sauce” for our team, and strong and effective leaders may contain different doses of each. Being a great leader is also about reading your audience and adjusting the mix of your different leadership ingredients as needed.
Our hope is not that you scrap your current leadership style and follow our recipe, but instead that you to take away the idea of creating your own sauce and recognizing what ingredients are important to you!