Let’s face it: some bosses are real jerks.
You know what I mean: the power-hungry CEO, manager, or supervisor. The one that manipulates his or her employees, fails to inspire, and consistently loses valuable workers. The one that can’t be pleased yet can’t be bothered with improving your performance. You know the type. We’ve all worked for this person at some point.
On the other hand, perhaps YOU are this CEO, manager, or supervisor. You squeeze every last drop of productivity out of your employees for your own good. Rather than building them up, you tear them down. Your own position comes first, and they come second.
In my rise up the ladder, I did this without even realizing it—a common in the type A leader that does anything to drive results.
If you find yourself in this second category like I once did, you have thrown true leadership to the wind.
Leadership is the art and science of building people. Suck at building people? You won’t ever be successful in leading.
Did that sound a little harsh? So is the tyrannical supervisor.
So, what separates the true leader from the wannabe? What does the successful CEO, manager, or supervisor look like? Let’s consider 5 basic points:
1.Team over Individual
The successful leader places the needs of the team before his/her own. If members of the team need professional development, the leader provides extra training. If they need inspiration, s/he provides it. While unsuccessful employers seek to move forward on their own, true leaders desire to bring their teams with them to the top. Everything they do reflects this goal.
2. Serving over Approval
Real leaders do not prioritize the approval of their people over actually serving them! When leaders try to please their people versus leading them they begin to give in to wants more than needs. Effective leaders are respected not for the pedestal on which their title rests, they are respected based on their ability to expand those s/he is entrusted to lead.
This might come as a shock to those in the boardroom: companies are more likely to reach their goals when led by “more humble individuals” that “are less likely to display self-aggrandizing traits such as narcissism.” What does this mean for the leader? Check your ego at the door. You’re not the greatest thing since Wonder Bread, and your employees just might have some excellent ideas, too.
Research has consistently determined that companies “characterized by positive and virtuous practices” captivate top talent, increase morale, and increase their “ability to think creatively.”
However, this positivity must start from the top. If the CEO throws tantrums every time something goes wrong, what will prevent employees from acting the same way? Leaders set the tone for the organization and are responsible for fostering a positive company culture.
Corruption seems to be a relatively prominent problem among CEOs, especially those of larger companies. Harvard Business Review claims, “Companies have become much more likely to dismiss their chief executive officers over the last several years because of a scandal or improper conduct…” While any CEO, manager, or supervisor can engage in scandal to get ahead, the true leader possesses a code of ethics that cannot be bent over time. For those who possess a faith such as my own, they put their faith-based beliefs above their access to immediate rewards.
By focusing on the team and servicing them, maintaining humility, engaging in positivity, and standing by one’s ethics, managers transform into true leaders. Only then can they reap the benefits: higher productivity, higher morale, lower turnover, and a sense of team membership.
Enough with the power trip already.