The word “leader” is thrown around quite a bit in today’s society: team leader, natural leader, world leader, etc. But what does it really mean to be a leader, and how can you become one? Let’s talk about three key elements that you need to address to become a true leader.
Culture defines the way people interact. It is lived every day by your people. A strong and positive culture should be modeled by everyone in the organization from the CEO to tech support to the sales representative. Culture drives the company, its behaviors and results, and guides how employees think, act and feel.
So how do you become a true leader and implement a positive culture? By living it. When employees see that their leadership is committed body and soul to the organization, they are also likely to strive to embody those cultural tenets. If you feel a certain culture is important to the success of your company, you must show that commitment by demonstrating the culture in your own behaviors. Developing and exhibiting a strong and positive culture is one of the most important traits of a true leader.
Another quality of a true leader is performance. This means having great performance yourself and also enabling your team to operate at peak performance. When your team sees that everyone around them, including you, is aligned with the company goals, this encourages them to keep improving. Providing your employees the right framework and tools to perform at high expectations encourages your team to want to reach those goals.
Alternatively, when a mistake is made, true leaders address it, put a plan in place for improvement and move on to the next issue. A good leader will align the performance plan to the company goals, and encourage the employee to take responsibility for the improvement plan. This type of resolution motivates employees to take action and elevates their performance.
Finally, leaders align their organizations with a unifying mission. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised at how many employees don’t know what their company mission or goals are, or how to articulate them. A mission should be something that everyone can rally around, including customers, and should also be clear and relevant.
And, like culture, the company mission shouldn’t just be mentioned on websites and printed on business cards. It should be woven through the fabric of the organization and should dictate what type of performance behaviors are valued and rewarded at your company. And of course, the mission is something that is reflected in the way you act as a leader. Modeling the mission statement garners respect from your team and inspires them to align their behaviors, too.
Implementing these three things in your organization will put you on the path to becoming a true leader!