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The 3 Qualities of a Great Leader

Posted 7 years ago

Do you consider yourself a “leader” within your organization, or are you just a manager of people? If the answer is unclear, this week’s story is a must read! The definition of an exceptional leader has changed more in recent years than at any other time in history. Contributor Rae Steinbach explains that leadership is no longer defined as a single person barking orders for others to blindly follow. Steinbach reveals the three principle qualities that separate today’s great leaders from yesterday’s managers.

The 3 Qualities of a Great Leader

by Rae Steinbach

Being a great leader is about more than just managing your employees. As a manager, people might work for you just because you have a certain position title. On the other hand, people strive to achieve more for a person that is a true leader because that person empowers them to do more. A true leader inspires them to reach for greater heights.
There was a time when being rigid, commanding and controlling was considered the proper management style in most organizations. In the modern workplace, though, most companies are looking for people that exhibit true leadership – not just the ability to manage people and get them to follow orders.
The following are a few of the points that separate the great leaders from people just looking to get by on their manager title.
A Great Leader Seeks Employee Feedback
In older management styles, much of the flow of feedback was in one direction: from the manager to the employees. A good leader isn’t just interested in telling people what to do, they want to hear from their employees. Your employees might have insights into how things could be done better or they might be able to provide valuable feedback that could make you a better leader.
Getting this feedback means going to your team and asking them questions even outside of their scheduled performance evaluations. Ask them what you could do to make them more successful. Ask about what they like and don’t like about your leadership style. Find out about how they want to be rewarded for their achievements.
You don’t want to just ask questions for the sake of asking them. An effective leader will ask the right questions, and they will make sure that their employees feel comfortable providing honest answers. You also need to consider the feedback you are given, and see if there is anything you can do to take action on this information. Employees feel the most recognized when they not only are asked for their feedback, but also see it implemented in the workplace.
A Great Leader Helps Employees Reach Their Goals
A great leader isn’t just going to focus on advancing their own career. You have to identify the goals of your employees and find ways to integrate these goals in the work that they do. When your employees see that you are invested in helping them reach their full potential, they will be much more invested in performing well and at a higher level.
You also need to understand that different employees have different needs and goals. The leadership style that may work well for one person might not be as effective as it is with others.
Just so, a tactic that motivates one person might frustrate another. Try to get to know your employees and find out the management style that will work best for each individual.
Employees Stay for a Great Leader
An Accenture study revealed that 31% of people quit their jobs because they feel frustrated in their work or because there is a lack of empowerment in the workplace. These feelings are usually the result of poor leadership. As people leave because of the problems they have with management, the turnover costs the company in terms of both performance and money. With good leadership, you can keep employees that may have otherwise left the company.
As a leader, you need to create a positive environment for your employees. Be open and encourage communication. When your employees come to you with feedback, listen to what they have to say and let them know that you value their opinions. Give your employees recognition for their work, and show appreciation for a job well done.
These are three of the key points that differentiate a leader from a person that just manages the operations of a team. Leaders get more from their people because they form better relationships with their employees, encourage communication, and they take an interest in the success of the people that work for them. As a result, employees stay longer and are more dedicated to doing their best work for the company.

Rae Steinbach is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.