Why do people follow others?
Why is leadership important in everyday life? What makes a great leader and what makes a terrible leader? Also, why do people follow corrupt or toxic leaders? These questions seem to come up more often than not because of the current political climate. We see groups of people with real hatred toward politicians today, yet some keep getting elected. Social Scientists speculate that the real problem is the “Romance of Leadership” (Jim Meindl, Social Scientist and Psychologist). We put our leaders on a pedestal because we believe they are special in some way. We will willingly tolerate bad behavior because socially we believe that our leaders have our best interest at heart. I don’t believe that for a second.
The Best Type of Leader
A good leader is constantly learning from his or her followers because they understand they don’t know everything. A good leader encourages constant questioning and understands, often times, things cannot be done by a single person. The best leaders I have talked with all say this, “I surround myself with people that are motivated and have opinions.” The era of being a micromanager in your business is over. I see all the time when business owners run their operations like a dictatorship, it is impossible to hire talented people. Talented people will find better jobs if the opportunity presents itself because good companies know how to cultivate and keep talent. Times have changed and it is important to evolve your business.
To be a good leader you must have these qualities according to leadership expert Warren Bennis: social intelligence, a zest for change, and above all, a vision that allows others to set their sights on the things that truly merit attention. The job of a leader is to develop a vision, set direction, and inspire others – simple as that. A good CEO also gets on the front line with key employees. Creating a vision is great, but a leader that will not get dirty with employees is not going to be respected. It’s easy to order people around and say I pay you for the job, blah blah, but I have seen managers fail once employee respect is gone and sometimes there is no turning back. I worked for a gentleman that did this exact thing. Always gone and never actually working. The whole team was constantly looking for new jobs to apply for and never wanted to be in the office! There was no culture and you know what happened? Everyone left. The company doesn’t exist anymore.
How to Grow
LISTEN TO YOUR EMPLOYEES. If you believe that you have hired the right people then allow them to take your company to the next level. Fuel the ambitious young person you hired and watch the creativity flow.
Create a clear vision for your company. Where do you want to be in 6 months? A year? Five years? Communicate this vision with your team and allow some level of criticism. Healthy, constructive feedback is the only way you are going to learn and grow your ideas.
Lastly, believe in yourself. The more you believe in your vision the more your team will be excited about coming to work. Passion is intoxicating to be around.
What qualities do you want to see in a leader?