The Importance of Leadership in the Workplace
The American workplace is broken. You’ve undoubtedly heard about the so-called Great Resignation. Those who couldn’t have resorted to quiet quitting, in which employees have left their jobs mentally and emotionally. It’s evident that people aren’t happy in their jobs. According to a worker survey by Monster.com, 96 percent are looking for a new position this year.
Of course, some individuals are unemployed and need to find work. Others need more money to make ends meet. You don’t have to go much further than the meteoric rise in the cost of eggs to understand the impacts. However, over one-third of respondents cited an inability to advance in their current positions. The latter points to a problem in management.
It also underscores the importance of leadership in business.
The Role of Leadership
Merriam-Webster defines lead as “to guide on a way especially by going in advance.” Former Chairman and CEO of Harley-Davidson Richard Teerlink summed it up best when he said, “As a leader...your principal job is to create an operating environment where others can do great things.” Therefore, the role of leadership within an organization is to nurture and inspire.
You may wonder, what makes a leader? It isn’t necessarily a title or post-nominals. Business leadership strives to create a positive workplace. The person at the helm is the source. It becomes evident when you consider the differences between a leader vs. boss. The former inspires and motivates their staff with their energy and forward thinking.
The latter manages the day-to-day operations of a business. Their role is to keep the wheels turning while staying on point. A leadership definition recognizes the hard and soft skills an individual must have. Experience in the industry gives one the knowledge to make the best use of the latter, such as problem-solving and conflict resolution.
When defining what is a leader, we need to look beyond meeting quotas or posting favorable numbers.
Leadership Qualities and Traits
When considering what is the role of a leader in an organization, we must begin with the good leadership qualities that define these individuals. Suppose you think about the great ones throughout history. In that case, many share similar traits, such as respect for others, courage to act when the outcome is uncertain, and the integrity to make fair and thoughtful decisions.
Some of the most important leadership qualities aren’t things someone learns from a textbook. They often begin with self-awareness, looking within to determine one’s own strong and weak points. This journey of self-discovery allows one to be empathetic. It also gives you the confidence to delegate. No one can do it all, nor should they. Good business leadership is threatened by it.
Instead, another one of the most important leadership traits is gratitude. These individuals are grateful for their employees’ efforts and won’t hesitate to say thank you for a job well done. This simple act will build morale and improve employee engagement when workers feel appreciated.
The Importance of Leadership
The pandemic taught us why should we be led by leaders. The overriding uncertainty necessitated strong leadership to weather the storm. Many organizations had to pivot seemingly overnight. That demanded quick thinking and keen problem-solving skills. The importance of leaders in an organization became crystal-clear when learning what survived the upheaval.
When thinking about how to be a great leader, it’s essential to recall the qualities we cited before, such as courage. Many swam in uncharted waters, forced to develop leadership skills equally as quickly. Many had to become better at leading team members, even if that meant working remotely. Organizations under lockdowns had to build a virtual workplace without the benefit of strategic planning.
If anything highlighted the importance of leadership, it was the ability of organizations to make it work.
5 Things You Should Know About Leadership
Too often, the terms management and the importance of leadership are used interchangeably. However, that does a disservice to both. The former is vital for day-to-day operations. However, the latter is the foundation of an organization. The things you should know involve leadership skills and the qualities of a leader. Five stand out when discussing the importance of leadership in business.
1. Team Player
When we think about what is leadership, some things aren’t necessarily obvious. A good leader is an organization’s top fan or cheerleader. They are rallying the troops to keep the enthusiasm at a fever pitch. They are also team players. We can’t overstate the importance of team leadership. They see possibilities where others see obstacles. They optimize their team’s dynamics.
That trait makes collaboration easier. It boosts productivity and can help cultivate the talents of your employees. That can, in turn, increase engagement and retention.
2. Personal Accountability
One of the most important leadership traits is personal accountability. Leaders own it. They take responsibility for their shortcomings while praising the accomplishments of their staff. It sets an excellent example and illustrates the humility that a good leader possesses. Things may not always go as planned. However, that’s not an excuse. It’s an opportunity to learn and one of the best skills of leadership.
It sends a strong message when accountability starts with leadership. It can go a long way toward building trust. It sets the bar for yourself and encourages others in your organization to do the same.
A great leader is driven even when adversity puts up barriers. Their enthusiasm is contagious. Their vision is the fuel that keeps them striving to reach for the stars and pursue a dream. As Dutch businessman Paul Polman said, “Leadership is not just about giving energy… it’s unleashing other people’s energy.” It’s hard not to be inspired and get caught up in their quest for the best.
Employees want to do their best. They also need a leader will to support their drive to move up in an organization with training and the right tools for the job. A great leader’s enthusiasm will become part of the corporate culture.
4. Positive Attitude
Nothing can shut down progress faster than negativity. Great leaders embrace positivity and how it can empower them and others around them. This attitude bolsters employee morale and engagement. It makes the difference between having to go to work and wanting to get things done. A good leader understands the value of creating a forward-looking workplace.
It’s worth noting that one of the main reasons people leave a job is because of a toxic workplace. A positive working environment can prevent it from undermining employee morale.
5. The Ability to See the Big Picture
It’s easy to fall into the silo trap where you can’t see beyond your department and its role. However, a great leader can envision the big picture and understand how the elements come together to reach a goal. Managers handle the day-to-day grind. Leaders are looking ahead to the future and the next steps. They don’t stop because their vision is a journey.
A good leader is always looking ahead. After all, today’s successes become the building blocks for future ones. Seeing the big picture is simply looking farther down the road.
Characteristics of an Effective Leader
Other qualities of a good leader exist on a personal level, which makes them successful at work and in life. These people are emotionally intelligent, a trait that comes from a sometimes painful journey of self-awareness. They are in charge of their feelings. They also have a realistic view of business matters. A good leader surrounds themselves with talented people because they are secure.
Another characteristic of an effective leader is their willingness to learn. They stay on top of trends in their industry and the business world. A good leader is open-minded and eager to listen to other ideas and suggestions. It also is evident in their interest in continuing education. Technology and business don’t sit still. Neither does an emotionally intelligent leader.
A good leader is adaptable. It’s essential in today’s changing world to be able to go with the flow. Organizations face constant challenges with supply chain issues and labor shortages. The only way to survive is to be flexible and proactive. Sometimes that means casting aside traditional ways of doing things and thinking outside of the box. Boundaries don’t constrain a great leader.
The old-school leadership style embraced the stoic individual who was quick to point out mistakes, coming across as infallible. However, today’s workplace has changed, not just because of the pandemic. Today’s leaders must be authentic to connect with their staff. It’s not a failure to admit your flaws. It’s far better to be authentic. They understand everyone is fighting their personal battles.
5 Great Leadership Skills That Every Employee Needs to Succeed
Great leaders aren’t necessarily born. They can learn employee management skills and the Importance of leadership in the workplace. Many of these traits exist in emotionally intelligent people. Experience has fostered wisdom, which empowers them to lead. They also know the skills needed for successful employees and encourage their development.
Perhaps the most essential skill a great leader can cultivate is empathy. It’s unfortunate that nearly 70 percent see it as a weakness in themselves. The reality is that employees want their employers to care about their mental well-being. They want the understanding that comes from a leader who realizes people have challenges outside of the workplace. Empathy is a priceless skill to have.
2. Active Listening
The importance of leadership qualities comes to the forefront with active listening. A good leader doesn’t interrupt an employee talking with them. Instead, they focus on what’s being said and ask questions to fully grasp the conversation. It’s one of the best ways to show respect for another person to be engaged in the discussion and not think ahead about your response.
3. Excellent Communication
Great leaders realize how critical excellent communication is to the success of an organization. It saves time from misunderstandings and false starts. It ensures clarity and clear expectations. Too often, management falls into the trap of the curse of knowledge. They have trouble sharing what they know with others. A good leader can step back from not knowing something to communicate effectively.
4. Critical Thinking
A good leader can analyze the evidence before them and make a thoughtful decision based on logic and reason. Snap judgments are not a part of their thinking. They are keenly aware that every action has a reaction. Therefore, it behooves them to be certain of their next steps. Action requires data to avoid making incorrect conclusions and going down blind alleys. Great leaders get it.
This skill goes hand in hand with the last one. It’s something to look for when finding and promoting leaders. It isn’t usually if issues come up, but when they do. Therefore, it’s essential to have someone to take charge when the unexpected happens and to take the helm. A project can still stay on course even if problems occur. A good leader ensures that setbacks don’t take them off the path to success.
Conclusion: How You Can Become A Great Leader And Have A Positive Impact On Your Team
We’ve discussed the most important leadership skills and how they keep an organization moving forward despite setbacks and adversity. Every company needs a good leader to steer the ship. The business world isn’t going to wait for you to figure out what to do. Decisive action is imperative. One of the best Tips for being a good leader we can offer comes from the wise word of John F. Kennedy.
He sagely observed, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” It’s the only way to stay ahead of the pack and remain relevant in a changing world. We encourage you to check out the Kutsko Consulting free preview course. Let us guide you on your journey to becoming the best leader you can be for your organization. Knowledge is power. Learn with us.
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