Good leadership. Though usually necessary to a thriving work environment, it is often undervalued and hard to define. Solving the issue of inadequate or absent leadership is tricky. In many cases, a team lacking leadership may not even know what types of leadership tactics best suit their needs, or they don’t know how to request it. Simply asking for “better leadership” is vague and inconclusive, and will likely not work. So, what is good leadership? What are some leadership qualities that a team can ask of someone in a supervisory position? Although it is contextual (as you will read below), some aspects of excellent leadership styles should be implemented across the board. Here’s what qualifies as some stand-up leadership attributes:
Leadership is flexible.
Leadership should best fit the team that it serves. There is no one good definition of leadership. One style of leading does not suit every office space or classroom across the world. A good leader uses patterns of guidance that are not only conducive to their team’s specific learning styles but also encourages them to demonstrate their best work.
In many cases, leading a body of people is less about seeing one’s personal views to fruition and is more so about having an organization or greater body’s views exhibited. Good leaders understand when it is necessary to make decisions based on personal values but know that their primary purpose is to guide others on the right path and to be a helpful tool for getting a task completed.
Leadership meets the team where they are at.
In a leadership course that I took several years ago at the University of Minnesota, I learned about a couple of leadership skills that have stuck with me. The first discusses how good leadership must meet the people being lead where they are at. This could be skills, attitudes, or goals. Misjudging a team’s ambitions, beliefs, or skill level could result in wrong or irrelevant instruction. This takes away from a leader’s credibility and the team’s efficiency. Exceptional leaders take the time and effort to understand the people they are working with, and direct from a meaningful and purposeful point of view.
Leaders should be “on the dance floor,” not on the balcony.
The other reading that stuck with me from the leadership course that I took was about being present in the moment. There are two scenarios: being on the balcony, and being on the dance floor. To be on the balcony is to watch from the sidelines as events play out in front of you. To be on the dance floor is to actively engage in a situation and practice leadership tactics as the opportunity arises. The reading makes the point that a good leader chooses to be on the dance floor. This can also be compared to walking the walk, not just talking the talk. Leaders that truly connect with their team and exceed goals implement their strategic tactics when it’s most important: in the moment.