We are guessing that you have heard the phrase “attitude reflects leadership” many times. To us it is one of the most important insights when talking about team performance, which is inherently tied to team leadership. Without a good leader, even the best team will only perform at a mediocre level – its real potential will be limited.
Too many times a new team leader is selected because of expert knowledge or work performance rather than specific leadership skills. Clearly, leadership is not just another task to take on, instead leadership is a unique trait. You can also think of it this way: you would not add bookkeeping to a developer’s task list because of that person’s good coding skills.
In this article, we take a closer look at some of the important qualities of a good leader.
1/ Has integrity and authenticity
You cannot fake leadership. A good leader is a good leader because it is an expression of their personality. It is in our very nature to have a great sense of when somebody is authentic and honest, or just putting on an act and pretending.
This is fundamental in terms of good leadership, and it forms the foundation for an outstanding team. Knowing that they can rely on the team leader will ease the minds of the team members, which inherently boosts productivity.
As Google puts it: In a team with high psychological safety, teammates feel safe enough to take risks around other team members. They feel confident that no one on the team will embarrass or punish anyone else for admitting a mistake, asking a question, or offering a new idea.
– ReWork with Google
"In a team with high psychological safety, teammates feel safe enough to take risks around other team members."
Without the integrity and authenticity of the leader, team members will dedicate a great amount of their energy to safeguarding their position, defending their work and focusing on their own interests.
2/ Serves the team
There are times when a leader has to be the person on the front lines, spearheading the team’s efforts and moving work forward. This is leadership in the most literal sense.
Nonetheless, the majority of a good leader’s time is spent being the number one provider of support for the team, catering to each team member’s needs and thus maximizing their potential. A good leader knows that the performance of the team is inevitably connected to the well-being of each member.
3/ Is present and invested
This is strongly connected to the service idea described in the last point. A good leader is present and invested in the members of the team. There is a genuine interest in the individuals who make up the team – getting to know them as individuals and trying to encourage their growth and fulfil their wishes is crucial.
A good leader never holds others back for personal gain, and instead supports team members and helps them to reach their goals.
This also includes showing real interest in the working output of each team member. The focus is not simply “doing work” - it’s about making it clear that the quality of the work is valuable and important to the team’s overall performance.
4/ Is empowering and steers clear of micromanagement
A good leader behaves much more like a coach than a team member with some kind of super powers. The aim here is avoiding the trap of solving every problem for their team, and at the same time providing the necessary guidance and insights so problems are resolved by a responsible team member who is up to the task.
This will also help the leader to steer clear of micromanaging the team. A good leader provides enough freedom for people to develop their own working styles. Team members should feel free to explore and experiment.
5/ Is both inspiring and consistent
You can only lead the way if you know where you are heading. A good leader therefore has a clear vision and strategy for the team. The primary task is to always keep the vision alive and present – to hoist the flag and rally the troops.
Quality leaders strive to base decisions on this vision, and they expect each team member to do the same. Doing this will give each member of the team a sound foundation for their own decision-making.
Needless to say, a good leader consistently follows through with this approach to leadership.
6/ Is accountable, and expects the same of others
In his inspiring book “Good to Great””, Jim Collins puts it best when he notes that “[good] leaders look out the window to attribute success to factors other than themselves. When things go poorly, however, they look in the mirror and blame themselves, taking full responsibility.”
A good leader likewise expects all team members to hold themselves accountable, as this is ultimately the highest form of confidence a leader can show when it comes to the capabilities and excellence of individual team members. A good leader expects greatness in others, and he or she embodies greatness.
7/ Takes themselves out of the work equation
When team performance is low, a normal manager jumps in and starts doing all the work, putting aside important leadership responsibilities. The intention is to try to improve team performance by adding one more person to the team, though that person has a different role to fulfill.
A good leader will do the exact opposite: investing time in leadership and trying to raise the output of every team member. In this way, such a leader does not add to the output directly. Leading well is a force multiplier, and effort put into leadership is an investment that increases the output of the individuals who make up the team.
In the end, this is clear proof that you are looking at a quality leader. When times get rough, he or she does not resort to doing the work of the team, rather the focus remains the same: being a good leader.
How Goalify Professional can help you in adapting a good leadership style
Goalify Professional can help you to focus on the important developmental issues of your team. You can identify key leverage objectives and tasks that your team needs to work on in order to improve performance. These are translated into repeating tasks that will help your team members to internalize the objectives and integrate respective tasks into their daily work routine. You can learn more about Goalify Professional and how it can help you to become a better leader here .