7 Winning Character Traits Of Leaders You Want To Work For
I have been very fortunate in my life in so many ways. One that has often gone overlooked or taken for granted is one that upon further review may be the most valuable. I have worked for some outstanding leaders. Unfortunately, for one to recognize what makes a leader great, one also has to work for some who just don’t have what it takes. I’ve done that too. Whether it be on athletic teams that played at some very high levels, or with some of the most successful country radio stations in America, my life has been blessed by outstanding leadership. Here are the “magnificent 7.” Success and great leadership go hand in hand. So, as you’re looking for a job, or evaluating if you should stay in the one you’re in, these are 7 winning character traits of leader you want to work for.
GREAT LEADERS ARE MORE CONCERNED WITH ‘GETTING IT RIGHT’ THAN ‘BEING RIGHT’
This is a big one. How many times have you worked for someone who has one and only one way something could and should be done-their way? That’s now how the world works. As my mother always used to say, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” The best leaders I’ve been around are ones who always have a plan going in, but are more than willing to alter their plan, pivot their direction in the name of success. There’s nothing worse than working for someone mired in his or her own myopic way of thinking. Find a leader who wants to get it right more than prove his or her self-right, and you’ve found a great leader you want to work for.
GREAT LEADERS ARE COLLABORATIVE
This trait goes hand in hand with the one above. I worked for many years in the radio business for a boss who I met with every day, all of his team did. This guy was a creativity fountain. Chances are during that meeting he would ask, “What do you think about ____?” If I thought it was great, I would say so. If I thought something could be added or subtracted to make the idea better, I would say so. And if I thought it was crap, I would say so. In any event, I knew that everything I said would be taken into consideration. Sometimes, he’d take my input and say, “You’re right, let’s go with that.” Sometimes he’d say, “Yeah, I get what you’re saying, but I think my way will work better, let’s give it a try first.” This collaborative spirit fostered a feeling of investment in the final product among all his employees. A collaborative leader is a great leader you want to work for.
GREAT LEADERS ARE DECISIVE
Collaboration is great, but at the end of the day, a great leader must be decisive. A leader who is decisive is one who has taken in all the data and reached a conclusion that he or she feels confident in its success. And once that conclusion is reached, the plan is put into motion. A decisive leader not only is confident, but because so, inspires confidence. A decisive leader is a great leader you want to work for.
GREAT LEADERS ARE TRANSPARENT
In today’s world, “because I said so,” is unacceptable. Great leaders have NO ISSUE WHATSOEVER with member of their team asking, “Why?” Decisive, confident leaders have no trouble sharing in the methods of operation and why they are so. A leader who is unwilling to allow his team to ask “why” is a leader who has something to hide. And you should hide from these leaders. A transparent leader is a great leader you want to work for.
GREAT LEADERS MANAGE DOWNWARD
There are two and only two motivations for a leader. One is to do whatever it takes to make his or her self-look good to those above (regardless of what it means for those on the team). The other is to do whatever it takes to make sure the team feels protected. In other words, a great leader “has his people’s backs” before he even thinks of being concerned for his own. A team that feels like their leader has their best interests is a team that will fight for that leader to be successful. A leader who manages downward is a great leader you want to work for.
GREAT LEADERS ARE QUICK TO GIVE FLOWERS TO THEIR PEOPLE
Is there anything more frustrating than to have something go REALLY right in the workplace because of the combined efforts or many, only to see those with corner offices feel the need to only congratulate themselves and each other publicly? Nothing is more eye-rolling or soul-crushing than to see supervisors crediting each other in company e-mail for work that others did. Great leaders are the first to heap public praise on those who did the work that made the project successful. A leader who is quick to “give flowers” to his people is a great leader you want to work for.
GREAT LEADERS SURROUND THEMSELVES WITH PEOPLE WHO HATE TO LOSE MORE THAN THEY LOVE TO WIN
This is the only winning character trait of leaders that primarily is dependent upon the rest of the team. This means you. Embracing winning is easy. Embracing the grind, the work that goes into winning, is hard. With each victorious moment a leader is looking to those who aren’t as much about the celebration as they are about greater victory. The thought of losing is abhorrent to these people. Whatever it took to win, these people are consumed with being better and fully embrace what it will take to do it. Great leaders want people who grind daily and celebrate rarely. Are you one of these people? Then I can promise someone is looking for you to add to the team. A leader who surrounds himself with people who hate to lose more than they love to win, is a great leader you want to work for.