Continuing our discussion over the last couple of weeks about the most valuable skills and qualities required of good leaders, David Joseph, CALLCARE Board Executive, recommends we adopt the 4 S’s in our approach to leadership.
Sense of humour
There is, of course, always a time and a place for humour. But having the ability to laugh it off when plans go wrong, or when we make mistakes, is an important part of dealing with stressful situations.
Being able to guide your team through difficult situations without cracking under the pressure is a key component of leadership. It helps you connect with the people you work with on a personal level.
Having a sense of humour in the face of a challenge also helps ease stress and tension within your team. It can help give perspective when bad things happen in business.
The OED defines sincerity as “Free from pretence or deceit; people proceeding from genuine feelings.” Matching our actions to our promises is an important part of good leadership. It demonstrates a sense of responsibility, and is also a mark of respect for those around us.
Fake sincerity is easily seen through by those around you. Be honest about your expertise and capabilities. Be open to learning from your team – you hired them because they were the experts, so take advantage of that.
As a leader, it is not possible for you to know everything, but it is important that you can admit that, and use it to keep moving forward.
Good leaders support their teams and individual team members in their tasks. Friendly and approachable leaders are more likely to win loyalty from their staff, and get more out of their team.
Taking out stress on employees by shouting is not an effective way to drive performance, and it won’t get you the best results.
It is important that when team members are struggling with a task or project you have assigned to them, that they can approach you with the problem. This open form of communication is much more desirable as it prevents nasty surprises when things go wrong at a later stage.
Finally, self-discipline is a defining quality of leadership. Good leaders lead by example. If you fail to demonstrate the level of dedication and commitment you expect from your team, it is unlikely that you will receive it in return.
Use your problem solving skills to find solutions that benefit the greater good, rather than just yourself. By making yourself accountable, rather than individual team members, and adopting an impartial approach in difficult situations, you will win the respect of others.
Leading, not dragging
The distinction between leading and dragging a team is important. You need to win the loyal support of those around you, and connect with team members, before you really lead them. Working for an apathetic or overly demanding boss is draining and hard work, and does not inspire the greatest levels of commitment.
By supporting your team with a sense of humour, being sincere in your words and actions, and moderating your own approach with self-discipline, you can lead your team forwards, without having to drag them.