Leadership is a talent, it is not a title. All of our great leaders, and our personal favorites we have worked with, tend to take their role as a leader seriously. Here are some top traits of great Bosses and tips to nurture these traits in yourself.
- They have uber loyal teams. The most obvious sign of a great boss is that their team is very loyal to them. Loyalty is not given by mere title. Although subordinates usually follow the orders and directions of their superiors, that action does not equate to respect or loyalty. How does a leader inspire loyalty? The only way possible… by being diligently loyal to their team. Loyalty does not mean you always agree, it means that you trust each other’s honest intent and that you have each other’s backs. This allows the team to take risks, grow, learn and produce in the most optimal way. Without real loyalty your team will not grow, will not innovate, will not thrive. I cannot stress this enough. Without loyalty, you will not have a highly-productive and optimized team.
- Their team takes risks. Because they have a loyal boss, the team is able to be creative, innovation, and take the risks necessary to grow from their current position. Highly successful teams often look insane, crazy, radical… because compared to the typical Title Boss that manages via directions and tasks, this Great Boss and Leader trusts their team to be the experts they are. Experts take calculated risks.
- They succeed. Their teams are often the most successful team within a group or organization. They align within the upper 20% of their market. They are Thought Leaders and industry experts. How does this happen and what does this have to do with a Great Boss? No one grows, matures, or elevates themselves without support, nurturing, mentoring and opportunity. Great Bosses ensure that they surround their team with support and opportunity. They inspire their team to learn more, take risks, try something completely different. They soothe fears, or at least buffer most of the obstacles. They expect greatness and do everything they can to open up that path for their team. A Great Boss knows that their success solely relies on the success of their team. They do everything to ensure that, and nothing to jeopardize it.
- They love their job. And why wouldn’t they? They have a loyal and successful team. Teams that are lead by great leaders don’t leave. This isn’t an absolute, of course, as people will leave for other reasons, but the majority of people that do leave their job say “having a bad boss” is their main reason. Think about it, if they had a Great Boss they would have support to grow and take risks, learn, become an industry Thought Leader and expert, and have as many opportunities as possible within their organization.
If you look at any Great Boss you’re likely to see some other characteristics that contribute to the above traits.
That doesn’t mean they’re perfect, that everyone adores them (or hell, even likes them), or that they get along with everyone. Being a Great Boss isn’t a popularity contest, and as a leader you should strive to have a few key characteristics, while allowing yourself to falter and recover.
- Be authentic to yourself and others. If you cannot be authentic then you will never earn respect, trust or loyalty. You may authentically be an ass… but even if people don’t like a particular view of yours, they will respect and trust what you’re saying, and know where you stand. Don’t play games, don’t play “politics”, be authentic in everything you say and do, with everyone. Always. There is no greater gift you can give yourself and others than being the authentic you.
- Be mindful and present. I have an article on being a Mindful Leader. Some of the key aspects to mindfulness and presence is focusing on the moment in front of you and absorbing it for its full potential. It may be a listening moment, or a support moment, or a training moment. Being present will always allow for the best outcome of that situation.
- Be grateful. Practice gratitude daily. This is especially valuable when you are faced with an uncomfortable emotion or situation. Ensure you’re present, then be grateful. Find gratitude in your team, in your organization, in your work and its outcome, the people you get to share your presence with.
Great Bosses are a gift, so if you have one, appreciate the heck out of them. If you do lead people, make it a top goal of yours to be a Great Boss. You owe it to yourself, your team, and your purpose in life.
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