Five Things Great Leaders Do Right by Rich Berens

To state the obvious: Great leadership is vital to any organization. Great leaders set the direction for the organization and determine resource allocation to get it done. They create the tone by how they lead and make decisions. They nurture and enable a culture to thrive. And to do their jobs well, they must be deeply committed to the business and to empowering their people to succeed.

Over the years, I have learned there are many great leaders out there who work hard to do the right thing and have the best intentions to do right by their business and their people. Yet, a recent study by Kelton research shows us that less than 50 percent of employees view this as the truth1. This begs the question: Why aren’t employees’ perceptions matching up with leaders’ intentions?

If you’re concerned that your people don’t have confidence in you as a leader or that the perception of the leadership team doesn’t match your efforts, you may need to reassess things. The best leaders always learn to fine-tune their game. Below are five qualities I have found exhibited by successful leaders, all of which are critical actions and behaviors that help leaders be more authentic and create greater confidence and followership.

Why aren’t employees’ perceptions matching up with leaders’ intentions?

1. Leaders are storytellers.

The best leaders have the ability to paint a compelling vision for their people by defining what winning looks like in a powerful, understandable way. They connect with people’s hearts as much as with their heads. They aren’t following a PowerPoint presentation at a town hall meeting; rather, they are speaking passionately, without jargon or business catchphrases, in a way that inspires and motivates their people.

2. Leaders are dot connectors.

Successful leaders create a common view of where the business is, where it needs to go, and how it’s going to get there. They provide clarity at all levels so individuals have a well-defined idea of how their personal goals fit into the big picture.

3. Leaders keep important conversations in the room.

By creating an environment built on trust, honesty, and safety, leaders make it okay for the meaningful conversations to happen “in the room” rather than the bathroom, hallway or water cooler. When people trust their thoughts will be heard in the right way and feel safe that their careers won’t be limited by a new or different idea, they’ll speak more openly. Strong leaders welcome “against the grain” thinking and the resulting debates – that’s when the best ideas come out.

4. Leaders are transparent about decision-making.

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