True leaders do what good people do every day and have no need for the title, in fact, some of the most effective leaders have no idea that they are serving people in the way that they do.
Far too many people like the idea of being a leader, they seem to think others will be impressed by the title and respect them more. Perhaps it’s an idea that they will have an extra measure of power (whatever that may be).
Here are ways to recognise an ineffective leader:
Unable to stand for anything: Having an opinion and being outspoken about what you believe in provides much-needed security for people around you. They can follow and respect you if you are able to hold an opinion and not be changed by the opinions of others. This may not sound that important, but a true leader needs vision and should be able to completely focus on that vision. This brings the stability that people require.
Own needs more important than that of the group: Wanting the best for yourself should never come at the cost of others. This is often seen when targets need to be reached and there is only a reward for the leader and not the team. Being a good leader means helping everyone achieve according to the work they have delivered and not just gratification to the person shouting the loudest.
The idea of working hard: If you think you work hard, you need to find better and more efficient ways of working. Perhaps you need to slow down and assess what is really important. If you cannot find a way to work smarter how will your team ever be able to? Realise that you need to find ways of making yourself more productive before you expect others to be more productive. That is leadership and it takes work.
Lack of Empathy: Empathy is often considered as a soft and fluffy optional extra, when in fact it is the most important attribute needed. Empathy is understanding, not accepting excuses because unfortunately excuses do not get the job done, and they definitely don’t pay the bills. A leader’s empathy needs to be coupled with responsibility. When you hear excuses it is often better to remind the person that they are ultimately not working for you, but rather the family at home that are expecting them to bring enough money home to support them. It’s the principle of tough love and as a leader, you will need to be tough.
Unable to communicate: We are social creatures and we need feedback, if you wish to have any measure of success as a person or a leader, you will need to learn to overcommunicate. Start with your family, recognise them and spend more time communicating and thinking about more things you can say. This will make it easier to communicate and recognise people in your team.
Leadership is about serving people, and the reason we serve people is to make them more effective so that they too can lead. The responsibility of a leader is to develop more leaders, so before you make a decision you have to ask yourself “Is what I am about to do going to make this person a better leader?” That is the only long term consideration that needs to be pondered.
These are some of the common failings of people who think they are leaders. In case you are unfortunate enough to be in the presence of such a person, I wish you all the strength and patience in the world. Try to learn and remind yourself daily to be different and perhaps you will be able to lead them from arrogance to a point where they can change.