6 Actions That Make Great Leaders - Part 1Apr 04, 2023
What makes a great leader? There are many definitions to answer that question. Across the different leadership positions I’ve had, and the many CEOs and directors I’ve worked with in my +30 years of experience in the franchise industry, I have seen what a good leader looks like, what a bad one does, and the characteristics of great leaders
- Among the many definitions that there are, one is my all-time favorite, coming from John Quincy Adams. He says “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a great leader”.
I love it because it tells us how being a great leader is about inspiring others to be a better version of themselves. Not only is it an honorable thing, but a great purpose in life.
How can we inspire people? We can motivate them to improve themselves through our actions because people don't do what we say, they follow what we do.
Here at The American Franchise Academy, we have defined 12 specific actions of a great leader. If you do them, you’ll be able to inspire others to follow you and be better. In this blog post, we’ll go over the first six actions, and in the following one, we’ll review the other six.
Tip: as you go through them, evaluate yourself and your leaders, and make a plan to improve yourself or the leaders in your organization.
1. Be respectful
People don't mind being told when they are not doing something right, what areas they need to improve, or where they made mistakes. But they want to be treated with respect and dignity.
Whenever we give people feedback or correct them, we have to be very careful we do so with respect, regardless of what position they're in. And as long as we do it with this consideration, people will be open and embrace what we have to share with them.
2. Be Consistent
If you do what you say you are going to do and when you are going to do it, your actions will be consistent. And if you are consistent in who you are every day, people don't have to wonder how you’ll react. Then, people can trust you. That's why this particular action is so important because one of the most important elements of leadership is trust.
3. Be Fair
This means not having favorites, which may happen even without us noticing, but people around us do see it. We need to be self-aware enough to detect when we're leaning toward favoring someone. Especially if we have family members or close friends within the business, the expectations have to be the same for everyone, regardless of where they come from.
We need to constantly check ourselves for that fairness, because employees want to be treated all the same, at all times.
4. Be Open
People's ideas, feedback, and comments should be taken objectively, not personally. If you get defensive, people will shut down and won't come to you with anything anymore.
This action is not only about having an open-door policy but having leaders open to receiving feedback and creating a safe space where they can express their sentiments and opinions. Otherwise, team members won’t feel free to come forward and share valuable things, maybe even some ideas that will help you improve your whole organization.
5. Be Complementary
When you see someone doing something really well, say something about it! As operators and leaders, most of the time we tend to point out what’s wrong, what needs to be improved, and all the things that have to be fixed. But we don't do a very good job looking at the things that are being done well.
If you want to be a great leader, you have to look proactively for these positive situations and then recognize them openly. That means not only saying something superficial but being specific about the behavior or action that one or more employees are doing that is so good.
If you complement them, you’ll motivate them to continue to repeat that particular action or behavior they're doing or showing.
6. Be Caring
Maybe you don’t want to get too personal or too involved with your team members, but you don't have to become buddies. What I mean by caring is that if you see an employee having a bad day, or if you detect something is wrong, approach them and find out about it. Especially if this is affecting their performance and their experience at work.
Inquire about what is going on and if there's anything that you can do to accommodate them, engage with them, or at least be empathetic with them. Who knows, maybe there's something you can do to help!
A great leader goes above and beyond. And if something is affecting a team member, caring about them will be highly appreciated by the staff.
As you can see, these actions are not easy to do all the time. But if you accomplish them, your employees will react to that and you’ll have a better and healthier work environment.
I hope this gives you something to think about and consider. In this next blog post, we review the other six actions that will help you become a great leader.
In the meantime, don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel and our Franchise Success Formula podcast on Spotify, to get more tips and information like this, and follow us on our social platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn).
- How many of these actions match your leadership style?
- Are your leaders inspiring the staff or do you have to reinforce their leadership skills?
- How are your disciplinary and recognition procedures to keep your staff in the right direction?
- How can you improve yourself as a leader?
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