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Being Human: How to Lead People

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Your organization has sent you to leadership training and nurtured you through their fast track program. You know the disciplinary policy like the back of your hand and the you could recite state labor laws in your sleep. While these things are important to know and understand, the true foundation of effective leadership lies in inherent human qualities. In simple, great leadership boils down to being human.

Be Honest

Good leaders are honest with their employees, clients, and managers. They own their mistakes and oversights and actively work toward a solution. They don’t say anything behind an employee’s back that they haven’t said to the employee’s face. Their subordinates respect their honesty and trust their words. Sugar coating performance deficits causes confusion for the employee and fails to promote success. Be honest.

Be Friendly

Employees who connect with their leaders are more likely to respect and follow their leaders and feel satisfied in their role. Take time to learn about your employees’ families and hobbies; they make wonderful friendly talking points. A simple, “Good morning, Shirley! How did Bob’s appointment go yesterday?” goes a long way. Always take a moment to establish eye contact and make a connection.

Be Real

Show your employees that you are a real person not so different from themselves. Laugh at work often and smile whenever you can. Let your employees into your life a little by sharing information about your family and hobbies. Leaders who are real with their employees are more approachable, and therefore receive more valuable feedback and suggestions.

Be Supportive

Good leaders are those who are supportive of their employee’s ambitions and goals. Support each employee in their role, assist individuals in understanding the value of their contributions to the organization, and encourage every employee to pursue in-house positions that interest them. Take time to discuss an employee’s career planning so you can work to keep the best in the organization. Identify leaders early and share your plans for their advancement in the organization.

Be Empathetic

Experience in the leadership industry can harden even the most compassionate of hearts. However, a leader should go to great lengths to see every employee as a human being, take every concern seriously, and genuinely empathize with the employee expressing his or her dissatisfaction. Furthermore, the effective leader shows empathy with the grieving employee and encourages as much family time as possible.

Be Rewarding

Statistics show that employee satisfaction increases more when non-monetary rather than monetary rewards are issued. Commit to complimenting a minimum of three employees daily on their performance. Telling the janitorial staff, “It sure looks great in here! Thanks for the hard work!” or your administrative assistant, “Thanks for keeping such an organized schedule!” takes mere moments but their effects are lasting.

Be Open Minded

Be willing to consider the viewpoints of others and entertain new ideas or suggestions. Good leaders understand the value in new and differing opinions. Furthermore, employees respect and value a leader who is open to their thoughts and opinions and who considers them seriously.

Be Inspiring

An effective leader shows employees what he or she expects of them by displaying the same commitment and drive every day. A leader’s boots should be the first to hit the ground and the last to leave. Policy should be followed fervently and eagerly. Strides should be taken every day in the direction of success and advancement of the organization.

In conclusion, a good leader requires some textbook knowledge but an abundance of quality characteristics. A good leadership mantra is, “Always do the right thing.”

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