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What Does Great Leadership Look Like?

Business owners are leaders whether they think of themselves that way or not. As a business owner, you have the opportunity to influence hundreds if not thousands of lives in meaningful ways. Whether you are influencing employees, or affecting the lives of clients or customers, it is important to remember others are watching.

Not only are they watching you for what is ok, not ok, they are also watching for congruency. They are constantly looking to see if your words and actions are congruent.

A leader who says one thing and then does another is unlikely to be respected. Additionally, it is hard for people to get motivated around this kind of leader.

So, what are the best attributes of great leaders?

Great leaders…

1. Listen – Great leaders understand they do not have all the answers. They get it that when they listen to their people- managers, front line staff- that they can glean so much vital information that can guide and direct their decisions for the good of employees and customers alike. Be a leader who listens.

2. Know your vision and communicate it regularly- in the absence of this, people will just likely be there for the paycheck. The more you communicate your vision, the more people can see why you are asking them to do what they do and why it matters.

3. Lift People Up- You have the opportunity each day to lift people up through your words and actions. Notice what they do right. Talk to them about specific ways their contributions matter.

4. Show and share appreciations-Notice the contributions people make so you can share words of appreciation often and genuinely. When people feel appreciated, they want to keep doing a better and better job for you. Words of appreciation help people to know they are seen and that they matter.

5. Operate with integrity- Everyday you make a hundred different decisions as a business owner. Make sure each one comes with a measure of integrity. Again, people are watching. Operating with integrity matters in every decision and matters to a lot of people.

6. Lead with grounded optimism- It is important to inspire your workforce and to see the upside and opportunity with all that you deal with in a day, and it must be grounded in order for people to believe you.

7. Model trust and remember it is the foundation of everything. In everyday transactions, people need to know they can trust their leaders to do the right thing. Trust trickles down. If managers and leaders learn to trust others while providing reasonable accountability measures, then we all hold ourselves and others responsible and accountable which breeds trust.

While we have expressions like “she’s a born leader” the reality is nearly anyone can learn leadership skills. Leadership skills in addition to being competent are also largely character issues. If you want to improve your leadership skills start with the above 7 tips.

If you really feel you are operating way below the mark, you might want to consider hiring a capable business coach or consultant. There are several on Live Well Kitsap to choose from.

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