By Ryan Velez
Chances are if you’ve been in the workforce for a while or even similar situations in academics or other scenarios, you’ve had to work under a bad leader. Sometimes, what makes a bad leader is hard to pin down, but the consequences of having one often play out in high absenteeism among employees, turnover, low sales, and a lack of effort among employees. None of these are things that you want to deal with as an entrepreneur, and a recent Black Enterprise article provides some insight to make sure you don’t fall into that trap.
Bad leaders come in all types, but the first principle that makes for a good employee is that “to lead them, you need to love them.” This may sound a little holistic but think of it in terms of knowing the people you have working for you and what makes them unique. “They won’t follow you if they don’t believe you respect them, understand them, and can help them get what they want,” explains article author and entrepreneur Jerome D. Love.
To be clear, you’re not the only one in your business who wants to be a good leader. Your employees want that too, even if they don’t articulate it directly. No one wants to work under someone is overbearing, a micromanager, or offensive. The three traits that best sum up what people are looking for in their leaders are honesty, empathy, and vision. For honesty, no one can be effective in their role if they aren’t given the right information. Even if they mess up, they need to know how and why so they can improve. It falls on you to give them that feedback. Empathy helps you deliver these messages. No matter you feel about it, you are not a machine, and neither are your employees. Both sides of the table comprise of people with feelings, and these feelings can be used to motivate or discourage. Vision helps explain why they are doing what they are doing. People who love their jobs rarely love it exclusively for their paycheck. Not do they feel more fulfilled if you provide vision, but they are more motivated and effective a lot of the time.
Admittedly, leadership rarely comes in a planned manner, and many great leaders became great after a baptismal by fire. However, by keeping respectful while learning leadership skills like we’ve mentioned (and yes, leadership has its own suite of skills like any other career path), you will be on the path to effectively getting the best work out of your employees.