by James Canada
Last month, we talked about how competitive today’s job market has become and how vital it is to establish a positive company culture founded on sound values to give would-be and current employees a sense of belonging.
However, you can also attract and retain talent by providing a positive example to follow — someone who embodies your company’s values and inspires your employees to be their best and to get better. These days, more than ever, you need a strong leader.
A leader is someone who can bring out the best in each employee’s existing skillset, provide them with the tools they need to grow, and put them in the optimum position to succeed in their own careers and for the good of the company.
A lot of smaller companies, accustomed to one or a handful of founders doing everything, tend to micromanage their workers. Instead of giving their people the freedom to innovate and make mistakes, these managers try to control and direct every little action. This both frustrates and stifles the employee (not to mention wastes the manager’s time).
A good leader doesn’t dictate. They delegate, stand back, listen, observe, and step in only when needed. They don’t direct, they guide. They appreciate each individual employee’s roles, skills, and ambitions, and help them get the additional training and experience needed to evolve —including allowing them to make mistakes — while even learning a thing or two themselves.
In my experience, I’ve observed and followed many leaders who have inspired me to give my best. Many of them shared a few of these key qualities:
- Courage: Championing their convictions with all their energy.
- Big-picture thinking: Possessing a curiosity of what could be, with a will to change tradition and an eagerness to create.
- Openness to change: Accepting and welcoming of change as an opportunity to move people and things in directions that will benefit everyone.
- Persistence and realism: Unwilling to quit, but also grounded in realistic goal setting and patiently steadfast in helping others overcome obstacles.
- Sense of humor: Understanding that there is a time to be serious, but also keeping everything in proper perspective. Enthusiastic and spontaneous in expression; able to lighten the load as well as the mood of any situation.
- Risk tolerance: Willing to fail if it’s a step on the journey toward ultimate success. Open to learning from mistakes and aware that being overcautious often leads to missed opportunities.
- Positivity and hope: Trusting of themselves and others around them; ready to reinforce others’ self-worth; optimistic and able to see good where others may not.
- Accepting and wise with power: Responsible to others and devoted to helping them achieve. Understanding that power and greatness is not a goal, but rather a biproduct of serving the company and its customers.
- Commitment: Exuding confidence and dedication to high standards; letting others grow to their expectations; dogged, working hard and long after others give up.
Any strong and effective leader embodies the company’s culture. They are not out to merely please customers or make a buck, but rather are devoted to doing right by everyone involved. Our mantra for leadership is: “Do the right thing. Do the right thing for our clients, our employees, and our partners.”
James H. Canada is managing partner/CEO for Alliance Technologies LLC, ITEN mentor and author of “Corporate to Entrepreneur: Strategies for Success.” Contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org, 636-734-2337 or www.alliancetechnologiesllc.com.