We’ve all had bosses we were proud to follow. People we'd do anything for. Even run through brick walls.
On the other hand, most of us have also had bosses we follow only because, well, they’re the boss. So what separates the leaders we want to follow from the leaders we have to follow?
The answer lies in the four Cs of effective leadership. These are all verbs, indicating actions you can take today to become a leader people want to follow:
- Care: People follow people who genuinely care about others. It sounds simple, yet this is an area where so many leaders fall short.
- Take a true interest in the people who work for you.
- Learn about their hobbies, goals, and dreams.
- Take time to get to know names of team members’ spouses, kids, and pets.
- Remember birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates.
These things make a difference.
Here’s a personal example. I once worked at a place where birthdays were recognized with large gatherings. The entire staff would huddle around the birthday person and pray for their upcoming year. Typically, that person’s boss led the prayer.
As my boss prayed for me on my birthday, he did not say the names of my wife and kids. He did not say them because in two years he never took the time to learn them. I never felt less cared for.
There’s no better way to lose employees than by being indifferent to the things that matter most to them. Great leadership begins with caring about the people you lead. As Margaret Mead once said: “Never believe that a few caring people cannot change the world. For, indeed, that is all who ever have.”
- Celebrate: Appreciation is motivation and inspiration. Don’t leave employees in the dark. Show them you appreciate their achievements. Celebrate their successes. This not only lets the individual know you appreciate their work, it encourages all your employees. When a team member exceeds and reaches a goal, go out of your way to celebrate them both publicly and privately.
Here are some easy ways to celebrate employees:
- Send a weekly email to the entire organization recognizing a team member’s success.
- Take an employee who achieves a goal out to lunch.
- Thank employees for great work on your company Facebook page.
- Give an employee a gift card to their favorite cafe.
- Post blurbs about employee achievements on Twitter.
- Correct: Corrective criticism is necessary to be a leader people want to follow. Employees appreciate direction that helps them grow and improve.
- Don’t just scold employees for doing something wrong.
- Show them the right way.
- Put them on the path to success.
- Take the time to regularly and thoroughly evaluate all your team members.
- Provide goals and resources for team members to develop their skills.
Remember, the development and success of your employees is a direct result of your leadership. Make this quote from Orlando Battista your mantra or screensaver: “An error doesn’t become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.”
- Compensate: This one is kind of a no-brainer. Still, many leaders underestimate the importance of compensation to employees. Don’t make that mistake. It’s important. Very important.
If you have an excellent team member, see they are compensated fairly. Fight for them if you have to. Employees have more respect for and loyalty to leaders who recognize the value of their hard work and dedication.
Effective leaders are not born. They are built. Ultimately, you control what kind of leader you want to be. Take action to become a leader people want to follow. The results you’ll see from your team will be well worth the effort.
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