Great Leaders Do This Every Day


Leadership: It’s about making a difference on a daily basis with your staff. In the pursuit of leadership greatness, many look to literature and the best practices of others to model and shape their own behavior.

Guidance on how to be a great leader can be found nearly anywhere via social media, conferences, workshops, or even in an old-fashioned book store. All of these mediums will help you find those key components that, per the author, will make you become a more effective leader in your organization. Some of the common findings are:

  • Use of performance data
  • Increasing Employee benefits
  • Enhanced compensation systems
  • Strategic planning sessions involving stakeholders
  • Understanding personality types, performance evaluations and coaching sessions.

Each of these items is a process or system that you can add to your managerial skillset and is expected in many organizations. These are measurable and therefore perfect for reporting on status sheets. In my opinion, great leaders have “price-of-admission” responsibilities to be in their role as their job description most likely lists every item verbatim from above. However, do these items actually describe a leader, or do they actually describe a manager?

I have had the pleasure of working with leaders that could have told everyone to run out of the building and stand in the parking lot with no additional information and their staff would do it in an instant. They believe wholeheartedly that their leader has their best interests at heart even if the instructions do not make any sense. Have you ever reported to someone that you would blindly run into a parking lot for? If so, consider the traits of that person and what he/she did to earn your trust and respect as golden nuggets for you to apply.

With or without golden nuggets, true leadership consists of those soft skills that are not always measurable. Skills such as the ability to resolve conflicts, ability to accept personal responsibility, willingness to hire the best possible people due experience as well as behavioral fit, is kind, cares, and truly putting family first are some of the top skills. Ultimately, it boils down to something as simple as “What did you do today to make a positive difference in someone’s day?” Here are some examples on ways to make a daily difference:

Do the unexpected to appreciate your staff. People are used to recognition when success happens, however have you ever thanked someone on your team randomly? Imagine the impact of coming into work and finding a post-it note on your screen from your leader saying “thank you for all that you do.”

Fun. Regardless of a job, if someone is having fun, they are engaged and productive. Even the most routine data processing roles can have fun introduced. If the leader is willing to participate, the notion of fun becomes accepted in the organization. (HR Note: be conscious of not crossing any boundary lines here). Attack the most difficult parts of someone’s job with fun: Make a contest for whomever deals with the most difficult situation each day or have a flag that staff can put at their desk if they just had a tough interaction. Consider purchasing a life-sized Star Wars figure and give it an ID badge as your new intern. Oh imagine the fun you could have here! Keep your fun tied to your organizational culture to be professional and appropriate while at the same time having it create smiles throughout your office.

Be present. You should know when a staff member has a major project do, an important presentation, or a heavy workload. However, staff also go though situations outside of your office. Be available for your staff in a way that is not obtrusive or micro-managing but be open to listen. Knowing one has support from their leader certainly takes the edge off any difficult situation. If you reflect upon the actions above, they all have one intentional outcome that is often overlooked. When your team goes home for the evening, they are not done with their work. They talk about it with friends, neighbors and family. This is critical to their engagement with your organization. By doing the items above, or similar things, you are influencing that conversation to be one that contains statements such as “I had so much fun at work today!” “My boss surprised me with a thank you note out of the blue!” “I was so nervous about my presentation until my manager stopped by and reassured me that I would do great”. This not only makes your staff feel good about themselves and their jobs, but they just influenced others to have a positive impression on your organization. Be best in class with your price of admission skills and do something to make someone’s day everyday. Pay it forward with your staff on your path to leadership success!

Be best in class with your price of admission skills and do something to make someone’s day everyday. Pay it forward with your staff on your path to leadership success!

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