Great leaders know how to act on what they know.
After a period of evaluation and discussion, they get out of the comfortable confines of their offices and go out into the hallways and conferences rooms, making decisions, interacting with employees, and carrying out the plans everyone discussed as a group.
These power words, easy to remember and act on because they all start with the letter R, define what makes a great leader. Are you putting them into practice?
Great leaders know how to reward employees, not just with a financial incentive but with words of praise and a swift acknowledgment that an employee completed a task efficiently. There are no great leaders who do not practice the fine art of rewarding behavior.
Along with the rewards, great leaders also hand out recognition. They never steal recognition from employees or claim to have done all of the work. You have to be quick to see who is working the hardest, who has the most innovative ideas, and who is excelling the most.
When the team is heading in the wrong direction, a great leader will "express sharp disapproval" and redirect the team. This is important because poor leaders wait around before they decide to change course; they are wishy-washy in how they express their disapproval.
Someone once told me you have to show respect to earn respect. It's a verb, not some vague concept. Great leaders know how to show respect to everyone on the team in an active, obvious way.
Employees come to work with a certain amount of energy. Great leaders know how to kindle it and then rekindle it. The word re-energize means to "give something fresh vitality," and great leaders know how to do this without appearing false or overly enthusiastic. They fan the flame of already competent employees.
One ability lost on some leaders is the act of redirecting employees on a project. It's a skill you can learn, but it requires other action verbs like perception, motivation, encouragement, and explanation. Average leaders will redirect in a way that is frustrating and seems disingenuous or abrupt.
Here's a sign of greatness in leadership: You remember the facts about a project, the issues involved, the customers who might be impacted, and most importantly, the skills and abilities of the employees involved (not to mention their names). A true sign of a so-so leader is they have a terrible memory.
A great leader resists things like pride and chest-pounding. He or she knows that leadership is mostly an action, not a station (e.g., a position on an org chart). By resisting the lure of financial rewards or the ego that comes with thinking you have all the answers, you create a healthy, high-functioning team.
Here's an action word every leader needs to use more frequently. Have you restored an employee lately? Maybe it's because he or she dropped the ball during a sales demo or missed a deadline on a business report. Restoration is a way to rebuild employee morale. It puts them back into full operation.
The dictionary defines this word as "compensating for the faults of others," and it is a good place to start in leadership. As a leader, you have to look for ways to redeem your employees, either because they have made mistakes or because they have failed in some other way. You need to bring them back into the fold.