When you mention a leader in a business setting most people to imagine a ruthless, confident general leading their company to profits. But even though leaders do share many similar traits, they also have different personalities, talents, and personal values. Learning what leaders look like will help any business figure out the best employees to hire and give more responsibility.
Employees need the self-confidence to convince others to follow them by sharing their ideas. If an employee doubts their own strengths, they might not share their helpful insights and strategies with their coworkers. Even if they do share their ideas, they will face rejection unless they act confidently.
Self-confidence doesn’t always look the same because people have different personalities. One employee might show his confidence by commanding others to meet a goal, while another will by finding problems and confidently sharing his unique solutions. If an employer is unwilling to view their employees as unique persons they can easily mistake personality quirks for a lack of confidence, causing them to overlook leaders that could be an asset to their team.
Many people view themselves as leaders but don’t realize their own incompetence. This can cause problems if they can convince others to follow them, especially in a business setting. Businesses should always try to recognize competence in their employees. By promoting capable workers and removing incompetent ones they can make sure that they are using only the best people.
But even though many businesses want to have the best workforce, they don’t know how to actually recognize if their workers are a good fit. Thankfully, it isn’t hard to learn what to look for. First, watch how employees treat each other. Employees will treat a colleague they respect differently than one that isn’t good at their job or makes their workday more stressful or unproductive.
Next, focus on your employees’ behavior and productivity, and consider firing or promoting employees that are outliers. Keep in mind that even a little positive reinforcement or criticism can transform a bad employee into a valuable one. If you struggle to make the tough decisions, ask yourself why.
While it is okay for leadership to do what they want with company resources, they can fall into the bad habit of ignoring an employee’s faults or successes because of how they feel about them personally. Instead, try to look at each employee objectively. You can even use the opinions of employees you respect to help guide your decisions and limit your own bias.
Finally, look at your own policies. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t know how their policies impact their employees. Even worse, many become defensive when challenged and offer shallow excuses instead of solid answers to employee questions. This makes it hard for employees to do their job well and leads many to look for a more satisfying job with another company. Instead, take employee concerns seriously and check to see if your policies make sense.
People won’t follow a leader they don’t like or respect. Always look for employees that get along well with a range of personalities. Also, realize that there are many different types of leaders. Some lead by example, others direct others to do their jobs better, and others offer emotional support.
Just because an employee is likable doesn’t mean he will work well in all leadership positions, and you should never force him into a job he isn’t fit for. Always ask for an employee’s opinion before promoting them, and don’t always interpret reluctance as a sign of laziness or disloyalty.
Businesses realize how important social skills are, but are sometimes too focused on appearances. They will value energetic and outgoing employees highly, not realizing that these aren’t good indicators of an employee’s social ability. It doesn’t matter if an employee is outgoing or energetic if they are rude to customers, for example.
Instead, use a broader approach that focuses on more important characteristics like emotional maturity and communication skills. Keep in mind that it is always better to have a reserved employee with these characteristics than an outgoing one without them.
Leaders should want to see their employer and coworkers succeed. If they don’t, their apathy or personal ambition will waste company time and resources. Some will even actively work against company goals if it helps them meet their own personal ambitions.
Finding and hiring leaders isn’t always easy, and here are some tips that can help any business add these employees to their team. Many companies already have leaders on staff but don’t realize it because they don’t give their employees enough flexibility to show their leadership qualities. If possible, create a work environment that encourages creativity and self-expression. Then you can look for and promote employees that show natural leadership.
Keep your eyes open for people who would work well on your team; you can find them in some surprising places! Just make sure you pursue them professionally so you don’t ruin your personal and professional reputation.
Businesses need leaders, but many don’t know how to recognize them and let valuable assets slip by. Don’t make the same mistake. By remembering that everyone is unique and has their own skills to offer, you can find the leaders that best fit your team.