Good Leaders Know It Is The Little Things That Count
Leadership is, no doubt, a core component of success for any organization, whether it’s a for-profit business, non-profit or charity, or even another kind of entity altogether, and it goes without saying it’s vital in politics. Still, it’s easy to get lost in the buzz and to lose sight of the things that really set great leaders apart. The key to success as a leader has very little to do with the large-scale initiatives you put in place, even if they do wind up defining your career to many other people. When it comes right down to it, the make or break moments are always found in the little behaviors, especially the ones you cultivate every day. Management that learns this can provide leadership that nurtures and inspires, leading workers in every role to do better than they otherwise would.
Feeling Seen and Heard
Acknowledgment is one of the most important aspects of leading. That means acknowledging when employees go above and beyond the call of their role. It also means making sure they feel seen and heard on a day to day basis, though. If someone feels invisible except when they perform extraordinarily well, then the pressure is on to make perfect performance the only kind you give. That’s just not sustainable, and when employees fail to get that validation, it can leave them feeling left out and isolated. Even if you can’t always give them what they want, making sure you let them know you are hearing and understanding their concerns is necessary to keep them motivated, as is making sure they get recognition for the good work they do in the course of their day to day roles. You don’t need to hand out high praise for job basics, but you do need to make sure your team feels their daily work is appreciated.
Walk the Walk
Consistency is also a vital trait in strong leadership, to the point that many coaching and training programs emphasize its importance. People tend to distrust hypocrisy, and if they perceive their leaders to be acting in ways that are out of step with their stated intentions, goals, or values, it will alienate them. That means a variety of things, but the little habits you can put into place to help yourself be consistent as a manager are very easy to grasp.
- Keep your words and actions aligned, this applies to both promises and follow-through on consequences
- Hold yourself to the same high standards for civility and etiquette you expect from others
- Do the work of the day, on the line if necessary, whenever you are in the best position to pitch in and make it happen quickly
- Own your failures and acknowledge how you need to change to do better
It’s not easy to operate as a leader who shows vulnerability by doing things like acknowledging missteps. At the same time, though, you set the tone for your workplace. If you expect your leadership training to pay off for proteges learning from your approach, you need to show them how to admit their mistakes, how to get help solving the problems that stem from them, and how professionals appreciate someone who cleans up their own messes. It’s these little things that elevate your leadership coaching methods and your approach to managing your team as a whole.