Ever since this post came up, I have been studying some of the ways that we can improve team processes and also improve ourselves as leaders. There are always a traits in successful people that most are willing to share. When it comes to leaders in the world, there are a few that may not be the ones that you immediately think of. Some leaders are not even in the same ballpark as other leaders. In reading, studying and watching leaders (both dead and alive) I've found they are typically not born like this. Of course, many have a natural ability in this area but even those that show early leadership skills do an amazing thing.They work on themselves day in and day out to become better leaders and bosses. A closer look at what makes different individuals stand apart as a leader has been the subject of hundreds, maybe thousands of studies and papers through the years. It's not hard to find the information if you are one who wants to change or to better yourself in this area.
Let Great People Get Great Things Done
One thing that separates good leaders from great ones is the great ones is the ability to delegate tasks that other lessor leaders would do themselves. This is not about shirking responsibility for anything that is supposed to be done by the leader. This is simply reading other people well enough to be able to place a full faith and confidence in the people that work for you. As a result, your team and employees can excel and this raises the confidence and value of the whole team. It show them and the leader that they can be trusted with important tasks.
Everyone likes a fun, easygoing leader. Sometimes, a leader needs to set those traits aside for some other time. What a good leader learns to do is to praise those that are on his team. There may be plenty of reasons to not praise the people on your team, but there is always something that can be appreciated. When people get a sincere pat on the back for their hard work, they respond very well. There have been more than a few studies that have demonstrated higher, harder work performance due to recognition, even more so than money.
If we learned anything from the super bowl, we know that a great leader will always take responsibility for a mistake that they make (such as the worst play call of all time in the super bowl.) When a leader takes responsibility for his mistakes, he shows his intent to build a culture of learning and adapting to mistakes that are made, and that learning from the mistake is more important than casting blame. With this action, a better leader and company are the result.
I have had quite a few chats with parents that communicate a striking similarity between how they have been able to be successful as a parent and how to be a successful leader. The successful leader, no matter how much is stacked against him/her, and no matter what he is actually leading, will always lead by example. He or she will never ask his team to do something he is not willing to do himself, and many times the unspoken word and ability to show "how to" is far better than anything the successful leader might actually say.
It doesn't matter whether you are watching the mighty ducks, running a successful online business, or the leader of SEAL Team 6, a leader will always lead from the front, and no task is ever beneath him. One time I was fortunate to be able to witness a great boss clean out the coffee machine, wipe off a desk, and clean up in the bathroom (all in one day.) I'll never forget it. When you show this kind of ethic, you will foster work ethic in your team that will go unmatched.