Be the Leader You Want to Work For
11 quick ways to tell if you are a leader who others want to work for.
1. Control your time.
Time is money, and money is time. We are all given the same exact amount of time in a day. Be organized. Use a calendar or planner. You cannot be a high-performing leader by just winging it. If you really want to maximize your time, plan it wisely. This will avoid distractions, and fire drills to meet deadlines. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone in a leadership position said to me, "I know, I really need to get better at that." My response is always the same -- don't talk about it, be about it! Leaders know how to schedule their time.
2. Practice healthy habits.
This is really a no-brainer. If you choose to live your life in a manner that causes negative or harmful outcomes, what do you think is going to happen? It's going to seep into other areas of your life, including work. No one else deserves to be affected by your shitty choices in life. Stop smoking. Eat healthier. Exercise. Smile more. Drink less. Sleep more. Repeat. Do those things, and it will change your life, as well as those around you. Leaders know how to make life more enjoyable.
3. Invite feedback.
Don't like feedback or criticism? Too bad, you are in a leadership position. You signed up for it. Take it (but without taking offense), say thank you, reflect on it, then act. It's that simple. Leaders know how to obtain and accept feedback. Next...
4. Be on time. Show up.
Leaders expect their employees to be on time. (That is, if you believe in the 9-5 work day.) I'm not saying leaders haven't earned the ability to come and go but, once in a while, practice what you preach. I once had a manager that I never saw, literally. After my on-boarding paperwork, I never saw him again. I worked there for over a year. Be on time to meetings and conference calls. When I conduct meetings, I am always the first one in the room or on the phone. What kind of leader requires people come to a meeting and then shows up late to it? Leaders who don't plan well, that's who. Yes, shit happens sometimes and unplanned things come up; okay, but when it happens every single time...that shows a lack of time management and/or lack of organizational skills. Leaders know how to manage their time.
5. Set clear personal goals.
Leaders have goals. That's probably how they became a leader. They planned it. They wanted it. People who don't want to be leaders, aren't. It takes a certain type of person to be a leader. Leader is not synonymous with power either. I know many leaders who do not feel the need to have power. More often than not, they want to contribute more, have a voice, make a difference, and help others. Leaders seek influence, not power. There's a difference. Leaders know what they want, and then figure out how to get it.
6. Set clear goals for your team.
If you do not set clear and consistent goals for your team you will all eventually fail. When the time comes to hold people accountable, they will (unfortunately) be on the receiving end of blame. But ultimately, the blame lies with leadership. Leaders know how to set themselves up for success, and set others up too. When a leader fails to set goals, they share equal parts blame. Leaders know how to set goals.
7. Have integrity.
Do what you say you are going to do. Keep your word. Show up. Deliver on promises. Earn trust, and keep it. Be authentic. Leaders with integrity know how to follow through.
8. People come first; you are in the relationship business.
People make the world go 'round. Being a leader means you are in the people business. You are the face of the company. Own it. You don't have to be outgoing or extraverted to be a leader. Some of the best leaders are introverts. They know how to reflect. They understand introspection. I am an introvert. I have held many management roles. I put on a happy face and smile and talk all day long. But at the end of the day, I am alone with my nose in a book sitting in a quiet room recharging. Leaders know how to put others first. Their employees, their customers, and their partners.
9. Stay optimistic (yet prepared for anything.)
Stay positive. The power of positivity can make great things happen. There is a way to look ahead in a positive manner, but also be prepared for the unknown. People tend to fear the unknown and see it as a negative thing. Leaders weigh all options. They analyze the data. They make decisions hoping for a positive outcome, but know that for every positive, there is usually a negative. How a person deals with negativity or disappointments can speak volumes about them. Leaders know how to look on the bright side, and not become victims of their circumstance.
10. Seek guidance from others (admit you don't know everything.)
Unfortunately, very few people are willing to do this. Only great leaders seek guidance from others. Great leaders admit they do not know everything. Leaders know how, and when, to ask for help.
11. Be confident
You can't be a leader if you don't have confidence. You can certainly hold the title of leader but, a real (great) leader has confidence in themselves, their team, their abilities, etc. Leaders know how to be confident.
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