There are four basic principles that all leaders must have in order to be a leader. They are:
Without trust there is nothing. Trust and honesty must be at the forefront of all activities in the organization for it to be successful. It is very unfortunate that the concept of trust has all but disappeared in many organizations. Think about how much faster and better things would get done if employees trusted each other. There would be no need to cover ones back or cover their tracks. No finger pointing as mistakes would be just that – mistakes.
Communication is the key to developing trust within an organization. Lack of information causes people to make up their own stories. This is how rumors, gossip and negativity get started. If the employees are not getting information from their leader, they will make up their own information and spread it throughout the company.
Leaders are committed to their employees and their business. Employees fall into one of four categories. They are either committed, compliant, complacent or complaining. Of course, the more employees that are committed to the business goals, the better the business runs. Being compliant is not too bad as the employees in this category do what they are supposed to do, but not much more than that. The complacent people are the contented cows of the workplace. They are OK with the status quo and not worried about much more than getting their paycheck on payday.
Most people will say to get rid of the complainers. But this would be wrong. Listen to them. Then put them in charge of changing the things they complain about. Make them accountable for results. If there are still issues with the employee – they have no one to blame but themselves. After this – accept no complaints – only accept solutions.
Leaders are passionate about their cause. Their enthusiasm for their business and the growth of their business is readily apparent and as the old saying goes – enthusiasm is contagious. Creating excitement is a primary role of a leader.
Grumpy bosses create grumpy employees. Bully bosses create people who avoid risk and do only what they are told to do.
Leaders support their people with the proper tools, equipment, supplies, time and competitive earnings. They also support their people by allowing mistakes and then allowing for the mistakes to be corrected. Leaders back their people – this support comes from the trust they have in their people. It is easy to support the people you trust.
The true leader knows he or she is nothing without the people behind them. The example set by the leader runs throughout the organization and you will see employees supporting each other.
We have a saying in our company – “Everyone’s job is everyone’s job.” This means that when one person gets busy, others will step in to assist to make sure all gets done. No job is too small or too big for anyone. It works.
So in the end, the leader sets the stage for the entire organization. Having these four simple traits make a leader a leader. All the other leadership stuff like vision, motivation, innovation and all the other traits come after the leader gains the trust, commitment, enthusiasm and support of his or her employees.
So, for you leader wannabes out there, forget about all of the leadership books and just look at the above list for guidance – just make sure you start by being honest and gain people’s trust. Remember –without trust you have nothing.