Back To The Basics: What Makes A Good Leader?

Do your employees bring their A-game to the workplace?

Head’s up: We’re about to drop some mind-blowing news.

Life is a game, and you’re either scoring buzzer-beater shots or sitting the bench.

So, if life is a game and we have to score on a regular basis to make progress, you better be thinking offense, right?  Well, not exactly.  Defense wins ball games. That, and solid preparation. And good coaching. Rebounding? Okay, so there are several aspects to consider…

I’m going to take this moment to forego speaking in metaphorical talk and get down to how this applies to leadership at work—it doesn’t really matter if you’re in a managerial position trying to develop potential talent or a newbie in the trenches. It all applies.

Confidence: Fake it till you make it! Nobody wants an insecure leader or employee. If you don’t know what you’re doing, act like you know what you’re doing until you know what you’re doing. Preparation is key because when you prepare, you feel genuinely confident and others trust that you know what you’re doing because… well, you do. Attitude is everything, and the mind achieves what the mind believes.

Lead by Example: Servant leadership is a term the HR community likes to throw around. But while it may seem like a somewhat shiny new concept in this arena, it’s just basic etiquette and really the most logical way to get someone to do what you want them to. Do as I say and not as I do? Not so much.

Others-oriented: Nobody likes a ball hog. Or someone who just talks about his or her own contribution in a post-game news interview for Channel 4. Always take the focus off of yourself and compliment your teammates. You not only earn their respect and trust this way, but you are silently instilling confidence in them. The words “empathy” and “compassion” and “be-a-human” could also be used here.

Move On: Can’t shake that earlier slip-up you made in the first half?  You are only hurting your chances by mentally revisiting it. Let it go, and move on to the next task. Everyone is human—mistakes happen, and you will make more. What matters is how you respond to them.

So, what type of performance manager are you? Do you aspire to inspire your employees when you can? Sometimes, going back to the basics of what makes a good leader can give you perspective on how you measure up and if you’ve really got your head in the game.

Curious to see how you rank as a leader? Check out our WorkCompass Leadership Survey to discover your strengths and weaknesses in leadership.



Denis Coleman

Denis Coleman is the founder and CEO of Work Compass, a cloud staff performance collaboration software platform that helps teams align their efforts with strategic goals and continuously improve performance. Frustrated with the disconnect between strategy setting and day to day execution and the lack of tools available to managers to help them be great at their most important function …. Aligning their teams activities with strategic goals and actively managing for high performance Denis spent over 5 years researching strategy execution and performance management practices before founding Work Compass to create a software solution. Denis has held senior roles in Ireland, Czech Republic and North America with high performing electronics manufacturing and professional services organisations for more than 12 years. Denis has worked as Finance Director responsible for €800 million in annual revenues for Flextronics International, Key Account Manager responsible for annual revenues of more than €600 million for Dovatron International and Management Consultant for BDO one of Europe’s most successful professional services providers.

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