When we think of leadership, we sometimes think of epic moments like George Washington crossing the Delaware, or Martin Luther King Jr. speaking on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. But what makes a leader great in a less epic venue, like work?

1. Communication

A good leader at work is a good communicator and clearly spells out expectations. Not only that, they foster good communication between their team. A great leader goes above and beyond leveraging chats, emails, and texting groups to bring their team together around workplace issues. They don’t just offer tools for networking??”they help develop a sense of how to communicate effectively.

When trying to be a good leader, it is important to listen to what other people have to say. Your opinions or ideas aren’t guaranteed to be great just because you’re a leader. If you listen to other ideas or opinions, you may find that the people around also may have great ideas that could work well with yours.

2. Empathy

A good leader in the workplace cares about their employees and shows it. Remembering the details of their lives and asking follow up questions (in a non-invasive way) about spouses, children, parents, and life events shows that they care about their employees and view them as more than just human chattel.

3. Approachability

When you’re a leader, you’ll need to be accountable. If you make a mistake, admit it and move on. It can be easy to push the blame onto other people, but this should really be avoided. If you’re accountable when you’ve made a mistake, the people around you will feel the need to be more accountable if they’ve made a mistake.

A good leader is someone who people are not afraid to approach with a question or concern. Sometimes the office door needs to be closed. But when it doesn’t, leave it open, and maybe even have a bowl of candy or some coffee for visiting employees. They shouldn’t dread your office like they did the principal’s; they should know it’s a safe haven they can turn to for help.

4. Generosity

Everybody loves a boss who does nice things for the team, whether it’s renting a food cart for lunch or taking everyone to a movie. Bosses and managers who use rewards to motivate their team rather than threats and punishments will find they have a much more effective workforce under their employ.

Try being transparent when issues come up as often as you can. Good leaders don't want to hide problems with their business. Why is this occurring? It is because today’s world is very communicative. People will find out regardless of whether you want them to. How about bring the captain of the ship instead of a passenger? That’s what good leaders do.

5. Passion

As the captain of the team, you’ll find that leading with example is the best way to go. If you’re plugged into the mission of your company or care about what your business does, that enthusiasm will be contagious and spread to your workers. Read up regularly on your field, network at events and attend conferences to be a cutting edge player in your line of work.

6. Firmness

Give people reasons to trust you. As a leader, it’s important that you are trusted. When that happens, people are more likely to follow you and to do what you ask of them. Make sure you keep your word, and say what you truly think. People will respect you, trust you and follow you.

Nobody wants a tyrant for a boss, but they also don’t want a pushover. A good leader needs to be firm and resolute and also know when to put their proverbial foot down in a respectful way, whether it’s breaking up a water-cooler party or discussing mismanaged time with an employee. Clarify your principles and rules and stick to your guns??”although per our earlier points, know when to bend the rules for extenuating circumstances.


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