It’s been said that all other business elements lie dormant without a good leader. Strong leaders can help an organization achieve business goals and maximize productivity. On the other hand, weak leadership can hurt productivity and hurt the business.
People have long tried to define what it means to be a leader. For everyone that’s attempted, there are just as many answers. Defining good leadership is a nearly impossible task. The definition is not straightforward or all-inclusive. Not every leader exhibits the same characteristics in the same way. However, there are many types of successful leaders.
So, how are you to know if your business leadership is the best that it can be? Top performing companies must have a firm grip on leading their teams to success. Who better to ask than employees working under the leadership of some of the most successful businesses in today’s global market? Business Insider talked to some of those employees. From their responses, we’ve narrowed down some of the most vital leadership qualities straight from the source.
1. Show empathy
Being an empathetic leader means relating to others and understanding their point of view. This leadership style shows a genuine interest in employees. Here, leaders are aware of their employees’ lives, the challenges they face, and their overall feelings.
Some specific ways to show empathy include:
- being an active listener,
- getting to know employees,
- and considering their perspectives.
Empathy has long been identified as a leadership quality, but new research suggests that being an empathetic leader is more important than ever. It can affect everything from innovation to retention. Data suggests the effects of the pandemic have caused multiple kinds of stress. Therefore, empathy is a top consideration for successful leaders.
Eric Yuan, the CEO of the super successful Zoom Video Communications, is recognized by his employees to be a standout, empathetic leader.
Employee quote about the leadership team: “Very caring about work/home balance, and everyone in the organization wants to help achieve that balance.”
2. Exchange feedback
Everyone can benefit from feedback now and then. Nobody has all the answers. Feedback in leadership is crucial because it fosters open dialogue and communication. It also enhances a leader’s credibility. However, it doesn’t just work one way. Great leaders know how to accept and give constructive feedback. As a leader, you can use feedback to directly impact your company’s purpose and direction. If your employees know that you willingly accept feedback, they will most likely accept your feedback openly as well. This ability to give and take feedback can be transformative for your leadership.
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple’s empire, is well known for asking for and accepting employee feedback. He uses it to guide his company leadership.
Employee quote on the company’s leadership: “They are always looking for feedback on how to improve and often institute changes based upon feedback. No other company that I have ever worked for has done this same thing with such success.”
3. Communicate openly
Regardless of the size of the organization, individuals, teams, and leaders must feel connected. Being an effective communicator requires strong speaking and listening skills. It’s important to speak to your employees in a straightforward and open way. This allows for a clear understanding of goals and expectations. Listening ensures that communication isn’t just a one-way conversation. Strong leaders understand that developing open channels of communication builds rapport between leaders and employees.
Steve Hare, CEO of management software company Sage, is appreciated by his employees for his ability to communicate effectively.
Employee quote on the company’s leadership: “I have never seen such clear communication and alignment from leadership on goals and direction.”
4. Set clear goals
An effective leader needs to know how to:
- openly communicate company goals,
- demonstrate what they are,
- make valid plans to achieve them,
- and set appropriate deadlines.
Your team will have a complete understanding of expectations if you define your goal clearly. When your team sees the whole picture, it’s much more likely that they stay motivated to move toward that goal.
The American software company, Adobe Inc., is credited for establishing a goal-oriented environment.
Employee quote about the leadership team: “I love that our leadership sets clear goals and is active in ensuring that their team follows through in creating objectives that align to them.”
5. Create a happy workplace
Happiness has a ripple effect. It ultimately leads to behaviors that lead to future success. When a happy leader feels good about themselves, it also gives others permission to feel good about themselves. More satisfied employees work harder. They also work better in teams, and are generally more productive.
Wayne Peacock, CEO of USAA, understands the dynamic between happy employees and customers. The company enjoys a 96% member retention rate.
Employee quote on the company’s leadership: “They understand that happy workers provide the best service to our customers.”
Learn to be a Great Leader with the Help of Azul B2B
As you can see, it’s difficult to pin down what great leadership is. It’s a culmination of many qualities that come together to make an outstanding leader. Although some individuals are naturally inclined to have good leadership skills, it is something anyone can learn and expand upon. No matter your leadership level, there is always room for growth and improvement.
You can design leadership development practices any time you want. If you need ideas or want a jumpstart, reach out to a professional leadership development provider, like the expert team at Azul B2B. We understand the complexity of today’s business environment. Azul B2b specializes in navigating leaders through some of today’s biggest challenges.
We offer leadership training based on core skills that set good leaders apart. Interest in and commitment to ongoing learning and development as a leader can be very fulfilling. With practice, leadership can be learned. Over time, it will become unconscious and automatic. Hard work, dedication, and a strategic plan to strengthen your leadership abilities can lead your team to new heights of success.