A common maxim in business is that good leadership is an essential aspect of success. But what constitutes good leadership?
That’s a question that chief executives, business owners, managers, and even employees should stop and consider. We recently completed an exercise where each of us at GMP wrote our own definition of a good leader, and we realized two things: First, that each person in an organization, no matter their seniority, must be a leader in some fashion to complete what they are responsible for. Second, that individuals each view good leadership in a unique way.
Below, we’ve shared our definitions.
To me, an important trait of a leader is to maintain a positive attitude. Not only are positive people more fun to work with and be around, but it’s important for the leader to be the “rock” of the group.
Whether you know it or not, the rest of your team is often looking at you for strength and confidence. Pay attention to your attitude, words, and even body language. An excited and positive leader motivates a team, creates a better work environment, and ultimately creates better client outcomes.
Leaders are a few things to me. First, they are humble. Success is rarely, if ever, the result of one person’s efforts – and a good leader knows that. They empower their team to succeed, and they make sure that that success is then shared by everyone.
Second, they are passionate. A good leader must love what they do, and as a result, they must constantly learn, try new things, and be unafraid to share their opinions.
Third, they have a clear vision. They know what the goal is and how they’re going to achieve it – and then they clearly and articulately share that with relevant stakeholders
Fourth, they are nice. People like working with nice people. Good leaders are friendly, engaging, and fun to be around. Sure, sometimes leaders need to be stern, but they do so with kindness because they care about their team.
First and foremost, leaders need to know that great teams are the key to success. So, they can’t be afraid to hire people that may be better than them at certain things and to celebrate the accomplishments of their team.
They also have to be able to push their team to be the best. To do this, they have to have a clear vision and goal and be confident in their decisions to accomplish that goal. Hard choices may have to be made in that regard, but making them with confidence will earn a good leader respect.
Finally, a good leader has be a bit humble by doing things like admitting when they make a mistake and paying themselves last.
A good leader needs to be able to put their head down and work, to listen, and to take criticism. They need to be able to apply that criticism to improve themselves and to help the people around them.
As a graphic designer, more often than not, my job entails working diligently and listening to clients’ needs and then using my judgement to adapt the content effectively. Staying focused, taking criticism, and listening help me create the best outcome overall for both sides of a project.
To me, a good leader will lead from the front. A leader shouldn’t ask their teams to do anything that they wouldn’t do themselves. They should also lead by example so that their teams understand not only what is expected but are also inspired to work hard.
I also think leaders should be open so that their teams are able to approach them and ask for help!
I believe that someone can be a good leader if they have experience, the ability to inspire, and a persistent demeanor.
To be viewed as a qualified leader by a group, the person must be seen as having the requisite knowledge, which almost always comes with experience. But being knowledgeable isn’t enough, they must also be able to inspire those who are meant to follow them to act and to act as a team.
When they are able to do that, they must then be persistent in striving toward the team’s goal. By that I mean that they must be flexible and take unforeseen setbacks in stride rather than losing their composure.
What Do You Think?
Whether you own a business or work in one, the quality of leadership matters all the same. As you can see by our unique definitions, what constitutes good leadership can vary from person to person.
Perhaps our ruminations will inspire you to take a second look at leadership and how each person in your organization sees it.