Over the last 20 years, I’ve seen some great, natural leaders. But sadly, as I’m sure we all have, I’ve also seen individuals who have probably been promoted due to technically being good at the job, but who do not possess any leadership skills. Being an outstanding leader is fundamentally different from being a great manager, although sometimes the differences are quite subtle, the value a great leader delivers is immense.

Leaders who embody these attributes can deliver culture change, customer experience excellence and a massive boost to the company’s performance (as well as staff morale).

  1. Trust and belief in your team. If you’ve got the right people working for you (and you should have if you’ve got your recruitment and talent management right), then you should trust your team to deliver without having to micro manage them.
  2. Open and honest dialogue. With customers and staff alike creates trust and carries people on the journey with you.
  3. Living your company’s values demonstrates your belief in them. And if the leader demonstrates those values, it becomes endemic in the way the team operates. Your recruitment policy should ensure that future hires are done inline with the values too.
  4. Flexibility. The best leaders I’ve worked with understand that sometimes you just need that extra 10 minus on your lunch break, or that you can only get to the dentist during working hours. Don’t penalise them and they’ll more than make up the time in return.
  5. Being decisive. If people around you have confidence in the decision you make, they’re more likely to deliver on that decision for you.
  6. The way you treat colleagues speaks volumes. Respect and equitable behaviour goes a long way to winning hearts and minds, and you’ll get it back in return.
  7. Teamwork. A leader who shows that they’re prepared to roll their sleeves up to get the job done is the leader that will be followed. Never ask an employee to do something you’d not be prepared to do yourself. This doesn’t mean that a great leader should do everything in the business – that’s not productive, nor great use of their time, nor motivational for the team (if it looks as though you don’t trust them to just get on and do the job). And remember it can be the little things that make a big difference – if you’re asking the team to work at the weekend, or longer hours than usual, order in some pizzas to keep them going.
  8. Reward and encourage positive behaviours.
  9. Setting high standards. And then ensure that you deliver to that standard too. Then demand it from your staff too. You want the best people working for you, so why put up with less?
  10. Pride in your team and their output. Celebrate your success.