Published on 5th September 2013
Leadership is essential to business. Bad leadership can sink a business, and great leadership can take it to places no one ever dreamed about. The question is what makes good leadership?
You will have heard the phrase: ‘The 3’X’ of leadership.’ There are many aspects of what makes a good leader, and we have covered them in this accessible alliteration-abundant article to give you an accurate awareness of what makes an amazing leader.
The 3 Fs of leadership
Gemma Harding, Head of Client Services at CallCare proposes you employ the 3 F’s in your approach to leadership.
“If a man does not know what port he is steering, no wind is favourable to him” – Seneca
Leadership is about direction. You are after all leading, therefore, to lead means to know where you are heading. Focusing on goals and priorities allows you to gain perspective, driving you forwards to help you achieve your aims.
As a leader, you need to be aware of your weakness as well as your strengths, ensuring you can focus on utilising the strengths in your team to balance our your weaknesses in the long term. Also, stock your team with people who will give you positive feedback and constructive criticism because that is how you will grow your business in the long term.
The focus is essential in the short-term because for businesses to move forward, they need momentum. You cannot produce momentum if you are distracted by procrastination. Leaders need to ensure they and their staff are focused on growing the business and delivering their services.
“I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?” – Benjamin Disraeli
Engage with the popular opinions of the day. Your customers have a variety of different ways for you to know how they think and feel. Find them, engage and understand them. They will follow you. Customers, team members and employees want to know that someone is communicating with them and listening to their concerns.
By understanding popular opinions and how they are shaped, allows you to influence it. Leadership is not always about charging forward from the front hoping people are following you. Good leaders lead from the middle of the pack by understanding and persuading those around them that they are the best ones to lead.
That goes for both customers and employees. When you follow opinion and lead with innovation, you optimise your business potential.
Fairness is essential to keeping your team loyal to your business and your vision. If you, as their leader, appear to be unfair and show favouritism to some over others, your employees will pick up on that.
All your business and professional relationships should be based on mutual respect and influence. As a leader, being open and honest allows you to make decisions and explain how you came to that conclusion to your team without them wondering in whose favour it has been made.
So remember to be focused and fair, whilst searching for that followership.
The 3 Cs of Leadership
Next, we have the three Cs of leadership. Master each C and you will be on your way to being a great leader.
“The art of communication is the languages of leadership” – James Humes
Communication is at the heart of all businesses. Great results come from the connections made between leaders and their employees and businesses and their consumers. If you can clearly and succinctly convey your message to both your team and your customer base, you can achieve your goal.
To improve communications between you and your employees, many leaders choose to have an open door policy, allowing your staff to approach you with questions or problems. This allows your staff to trust that you will listen to their concerns and act upon them if you have the power to do so.
Confidence is one of the most important traits in any leader. Leaders who lack confidence in themselves and their vision is like the blind leading the blind. By having confidence in your vision and your staff and being able to convey that confidence brings people along with you. They are more likely to get behind your plan because your confidence makes it convincing.
“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation” – Arthur Ashe.
There are different ways you can increase your self-confidence in both yourself and your business. The first is knowing as much about it as possible. This means plenty of preparation so you are prepared for any outcome that could appear.
The second is to act the part. Posture and appearance improve other people’s perceptions of you and that positive attention helps boost your confidence. You begin to mimic the feelings you get when playing the part until it stops being a part and becomes your natural behaviour
This is the most important trait in any leader. If you are not committed to your business, customers or employees, then how is anyone else going to be?
“Desire is the key to motivation, but it is determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek” – Mario Andretti
If you feel your commitment waning, take a step back. Look at the goals you set and reevaluate them. Are they realistic and achievable in the time you have set yourselves? If you cannot see yourself achieving them, then you need a commitment boost.
Give yourself time to focus on smaller details and tasks rather than always looking at the big picture. Think about how your business or department are benefiting others with the service you offer and whether you still believe in those ideas and values. If you find you do not, you need to examine why and refocus on how you be committed again.
The 3 Is of Leadership
Now we have the three Is of leadership. Let us see how you fair with these.
Interpersonal skills go hand in hand with communications because being able to communicate your ideas and encourage enthusiasm and engagement from your team is a key quality of any leader. Having these skills allows you to connect with others on a human level, making communicating with them easier.
It is about communicating in meaningful and effective ways, meaning you need to be able to convey a genuine level of interest in what people are saying to you. Interpersonal skill is a loaded term for simple acts such as smiling to make you feel more approachable, actively listening and engaging in conversation with them rather than ignoring them or talking at them.
“Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It is about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire team-mates and customers.” – Robin S. Sharma
Inspiration is the father of confidence. If you can inspire confidence and belief in your employees, they will work harder and be more committed to your vision than ever before. It also fosters a more positive working environment and allows your employees to enjoy the work they do if they believe in your vision.
Instead of pushing your employees to perform, encourage them to rise to the occasion by outwardly demonstrating your passion for your career and vision. People work for people, not companies, so if you inspire your employees, they will work hard and perform well for you.
Initiative is so important to leaders because you will need to have creative solutions to high-pressure situations when your employees and customers are looking to you for those answers. You are their guide.
Self-confidence is necessary when taking the initiative. If you do not have confidence in your solution, your team will not either. Having the initiative allows you also to improve your self-confidence because you know you can deal with situations when they come to the fore.
Signs of Leadership
People know what they look for in a leader. There is negotiation ground for certain aspects of leadership. However, there are aspects that everyone, from employees to suppliers, to customers and outside agencies, agrees on when they think of what a leader is. These are the ones we have listed here.