Too many times have I heard employees groan about management. I've listened to their sighs and their declarations of surrender and of their disbelief that their voice or suggestions can be heard, thereby introducing change which will make their work environment much more conducive.
The now infamous quote, "There is a difference between a boss and a leader," is in our textbooks at school, and employees and employers speak it everywhere and all too often, but the essential point remains: good leaders are recognized by the positive products of their efforts and methods. What are the telltale signs of good leadership?
Your production rates are exceptional. Most of your employees exceed their quotas even if working under pressure at times. They have a clear vision of the goals and direction set and understand their role as part of the team. They have improved listening and communication skills. Motivated employees feel secure, respected, valued and comfortable with working toward the established goals. A good leader is a catalyst for project success.
Your employees are confident not only in their work but in themselves. Good leaders act as coach and counselor to their employees. Employees view their leader as approachable and are not afraid to seek advice, make suggestions for improvement, ask for resources or point out flaws in management systems, production, and their work. Knowing that they are valued contributors, employees will show improved innovation. This develops good human relations and facilitates healthy interaction.
Employee retention is high. Seventy-five percent of those who quit their jobs leave because of ineffective leaders rather than issues with their job description. Your pool of employees can produce future leaders if nurtured and guided well; you don't just pass the torch to the most dominant personality or new hire, who may lack the combination of good qualities and tact present in good leaders. Employee morale is boosted, giving them higher aspirations, knowing that there is room for growth.
Employee thinking is task-oriented based on their understanding of the larger picture. They appreciate each other and the roles they play in the processes of day-to-day functions of the workplace. Diversity in the workplace becomes natural and is welcomed. The atmosphere of the work environment is positive and encouraging, making for as good a work day as possible for all employees. It is not a place they go just to make the money they need. It's a place they go to learn, to enjoy their experiences, where they are valued as not just parts of a team but also as individuals. In the words of Confucius, "You never will have to work a day in your life if you enjoy what you do," — enjoyment not only in the sense of the actual activity but also in your environment.
The telltale signs of good leadership supersede the leader's voice in the form of overall performance and continued growth of the department, company, or organization as well as the individual growth and satisfaction of employees and even customers.