When it comes down to it, employees are evaluating and forming opinions about the leaders in their company just as much as employers are evaluating the employees. As great as the work may be, if there isn't a strong leader in place employees are going to leave to look for a better environment; thus hurting the business as a whole.
In short, there are certain qualities that leaders need to have if they want to attract and then retain talent, so it's important to recognize these qualities and work hard to create that strong sense of leadership businesses need in order to grow stronger.
Top 10 Qualities Employees Want to See in a Real Leader
- Honesty and Integrity. By being open and honest you build a foundation of trust. Employees know that they can count on them because he/she is not going to have any hidden agenda when it comes to talking with you, clients, investors, the media, or whoever else might come in contact with the business. Never having to worry about what a leader is going to do shows great integrity and honesty, so this is one of the most important things a leader can do.
- Communication. This idea piggybacks off of the last point. It's important to be honest and open, but communication takes things one-step further. It's important that a leader keeps employees in the loop and is ready and willing to talk about issues a department of individual is having. It's one thing to be honest, but it's another to go out of your way to communicate and make sure things are running smoothly without having to be prompted or asked.
- Ability to Delegate. Employees want to be able to see that a leader is organized and can delegate different tasks correctly and efficiently. This helps show that a leader is in control, which again creates another layer of trust in that leader.
- Respectful and Trusting. Being able to delegate is just one aspect of showing respect and trusting your employees. Employees want to know that they are making an important contribution to the company as a whole, and knowing that your leader trusts you by giving you tasks, respecting your space, and respecting the hard work that you do for the company. This is an overarching quality that employees like to see in a leader, meaning that a leader can show respect and creating that trustworthiness by exhibiting all of the qualities on this list! As the 10 Commandments of Leadership says, "thou shall not hold meetings without agendas."
- Positive Attitude and Sense of Humor. When it comes down to it, work is going to be stressful and it's the leader's job to help keep things light and fun at the office. A leader can posses all of the qualities on this list, but if they don't have a positive attitude about it and aren't fun to be around, the office environment is going to get old.
- Hard Working and Committed to the Job. This is another quality that cannot be missing if you want to be a great leader. Employees want to see that the leader works hard and isn't just delegating work all day and then sitting around taking it easy. After all, how can an employee be motivated to work hard and be committed to a company if the leader isn't doing the same?
- Confidence. As a leader, you have to be the confident one. This helps show that someone is in control, which again helps build trust. It shows that the leader isn't afraid of anyone or anything that comes his/her way, and that's a comforting feeling.
- Fair. The worst thing a leader can do is play favorites or create unfair situations in the office. It's important that a leader looks at all of the facts and listens to all ideas before jumping to a conclusion.
- Flexibility and Understanding. Leaders are going to be the ones that employees have to talk with if something happens outside of the office or if something inside the office isn't getting done. As long as the employee has a valid reason for needing flexibility, it's important that they feel a leader is going to be fair and understanding. If not, it can be easy to feel suffocated by a job.
- Influential and Inspiring. This last point is number 10 for a reason. If a leader can posses all of the qualities above, he/she is in a much better position to become inspiring to employees. Inspiration and influence can serve as the fuel that employees need to do well, so it's a win-win situation for the company as a whole. The more inspiring the leader, the better work you want to do as an employee looking up to someone.
In the end, it's important to remember that being a leader is hard a job. On top of the workload, exhibiting all of these characteristics can sometimes get to be too overwhelming. The key as an employee is to look for these qualities, but still show the same compassion and understanding that you want to see from a leader. Mistakes will happen, but if these qualities are in place at the core then business should run smoothly for everyone. When all else fails, just turn to some advice from Michael Scott and positivity is sure to follow.