What makes a good leader? When you search “leadership” on Google, you get 139,000,000 results. Everyone is an expert, right? So I’m going to add the 139,000,001st search result on “leadership” today. I don’t have a lot research or case studies to arm you with. I’m not going to give you statistics on what good or bad leaders do. These are just my own thoughts on what has worked for me as someone that has had good leaders throughout my career.
Look at the image above. Who is the “leader” in this image? Most would say the single pawn at the bottom. Now, look at the image with the cluster of pawns as the “leader”. This is my vision of a great leader. Someone who puts the interest of his or her team above personal interests. Think about this in terms of the social web…it’s about relationships and what we can do to empower, educate and train others.
Don’t misunderstand. Leaders still need to provide direction, objectives and goals. That is the starting point. It’s how they equip the team to meet those goals is what truly matters. This might seem idealistic, but I truly believe that thinking about your team as people rather than an asset to achieve an end goal, performance (both in time and quality) improve. It makes the workplace fun and creates a sense of loyalty and trust among the team.
I recently came across an article from the Harvard Business Review that started to get me thinking about this. You can read it here. The article talked about “transactional leaders” and “transformational leaders” and the 4 things employees need from leaders.
- The need to love and be loved
- The need to grow
- The need to contribute
- The need for meaning
For me, having the above “needs” met is a must to keep me motivated and the fire burning and I’ll definitely keep these needs top of mind when I lead others.
Now it’s your turn. What are examples of good or great leadership that you’ve experienced?
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. ~ John 10:11