Let’s face it – there are some people that are wonderful to lead…and some who are not. And, as a leader, no one better indicates your ability to be successful than those that you lead. It’s important that you hire well, train well, and even fire well. Having a team that functions at a high level makes it much easier for a leader to experience success and help the organization achieve it’s goals.
I have found that there are some attributes that are common among those that I have had the most pleasure leading. In fact, these people probably got less attention from me than others. I spent less time with them, recognized them less, and probably invested less in them…but that’s a post for another day.
Here are 6 attributes that I’ve identified that people had that I loved to lead:
* They listen well…and even take notes. They don’t talk over me or others and they check for understanding. They ask for clarification when they don’t completely get what they’re being asked to do. And, they never assume. They’re also the person that is taking detailed notes in the meeting and writing down assignments that are given to them. They don’t rely on their memory to know what needs to be done next.
* They come prepared to meetings. They’re prepared because they wrote down what was assigned to them…but they’re also prepared because they’ve probably accomplished what they were supposed to prior to the meeting. They know what needs to be done and they do it. They bring enough copies for everyone at the meeting and they are ready to give a detailed update on where things are at. And, if they’re really good, they’ve probably already communicated the status of their work with you prior to the meeting because they know that surprises are never good…especially in a group environment.
* They push back respectfully. When you have an idea that is dumb, they don’t just tell you that it’s dumb…they tell you in a respectful way. But, the key here is that they actually push back on your ideas. They aren’t just “yes” people. They understand that their opinions matter and if they feel like an idea you’re pursuing isn’t the best for the organization, they speak up and tell you. But, they often do it in private and in a respectful way. They know how and when to communicate bad news to you and this makes them someone that is a joy to work with.
* They say “no” for the right reasons. When they’re workload is too much and you add one more assignment, they’re able to say no and tell you why. It’s never for vague reasons or for things that the leader views as inadequate rationale. These team members know how to push their limits and when to back away from more workload. And, as mentioned in the last point, they always communicate these things in a well-thought-out and respectful way. The leader may still ask them to take on the task, but at least he/she is aware that the person is near or at capacity.
* They need little supervision to complete tasks. These people are self-starters. They don’t need to you to check on them and ask them if the task has been started and whether it’s on track to be done by the deadline. In fact, I’ve found that trying to micro-manage this person can lead to them not being productive and often towards a point of dissatisfaction with their work. They are impressive with their organization skills and they know how to budget their time to get things done.
* They learn from their mistakes. It’s amazing to me how often people will continue to make the same mistakes over and over and never really seem to learn from them. This is a key attribute for anyone on any team and is one that can be taught. As leaders we can facilitate this behavior and help people grow in this area. However, people that regularly learn from their mistakes and grow from them tend to be more teachable and team members that last on the team.
Leaders – what would you add to this list? Team members – are these attributes true for you? Comment below and let us know…